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How to Story tell your way to your dream job

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of Arts in the world. In the job market, storytelling has gained even more popularity than it probably did a few years back.

The beauty of a story is in its telling. A story may be good but if not well told, it may lose its effectiveness.

Storytelling as a critical part of job interviews

Behavior-based interview questions rely on great storytelling skills to express what you have done in the past in your previous jobs. Employers believe that your past predicts your future and that is why they tend to spend a lot of time asking behavior-based questions. These questions are designed to give you an opportunity to express yourself through stories using the STARS technique. When using STARS technique, you begin your story with a Situation followed by the Task you were assigned, the Action you took, the Results of the action you took, then finally the Skills you used when you took action.

When storytelling during job interviews, it is important to first of all appear at ease- this tends to give the impression of confidence, capability and mastery of the situation and enables the interviewers to devote their whole attention to the story itself rather than to the teller. If you are fidgeting or scratching your ears or moving your hands around recklessly, attention will quickly shift from your story to you the teller.

Secondly, as an interviewee or a storyteller in this case, spread eye contact around the room to accommodate the entire interviewing panel. At the same time, ensure not to shift your direction of this gaze too frequently as this indicates lack of self-control and will attract attention to the teller rather than the telling.

Thirdly, you must appeal strongly to the interviewers’ imagination, compelling them to see clearly, image accurately and have a sense of reality. In order to appeal to their imagination, you must make a right use of your own imagination. The characters in the story must be very real and accurate. Nothing in storytelling will be real to the listeners until it is first real to you. That means, it’s important to tell about real situations you have actually experienced in your career life.

Fourthly, if you want to captivate the interviewers with your STARS story, it is important that you conscientiously give yourself up to the lure of the story. Begin by getting into the world of the story then transporting the interviewers into it. You have to be captivated for you to captivate your interviewers.

Finally, speak with clear utterance, so that every word may be understood by every interviewer in the panel effortlessly. Harshness in the voice, nasal tones, excessive loudness and incorrect pronunciations can be destructive to your interviewers and thereby divert attention from the story to the teller. Work on developing purity of tone, correctness of pronunciation and accuracy of utterance.

Behavior-based Interview Questions

Behavior-based questions are premised on the fact that if you have solved a problem before, at an organization, then you can be a great problem solver in the future in another organization. The clue that you have just been asked a behavior-based question which needs to be answered with a STARS story is when the question begins with;

  • Describe a time when…
  • Tell me about a time when…
  • Why did you do when…
  • Give me an example of a time…
  • Talk about a time when…

Before asking these questions, interviewers identify the behaviors required for the job first. That means it is very important that you focus on what you did or what you would do if you have never experienced a situation. You can draw stories from your experience in education, paid work, volunteer work, community service and hobbies.

In order to story tell your way to your dream job, tell a story with a beginning, a body and an ending with a punch displaying your skills- the skills required for the job. Use STARS technique to tell your stories!

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