Interviewing is about Storytelling

I actually look forward to the hiring process. It’s always interesting to talk to new people, hear about successful and unsuccessful projects, corporate drama – and most of all, to hear people tell stories about themselves. I could never hire someone who wasn’t able to talk about themselves and make it sound interesting. Ok, to be honest, I’ve hired some very technical people (and made one or two hires that I later regretted) who had a tough time talking about themselves, but…ok…starting NOW I will only hire people who can tell a good story.

What is a good story? Why is it important? I was talking to a friend last night about the interviewing process, and how a candidate he spoke with was able to quickly relate several dry, functional, task-related questions to a great story about a project that was a turnaround success. By taking a work experience and expanding it into a broader narrative, this candidate had given my friend a clearer picture of the context of the problem, and how he (the candidate) participated in the solution. It’s difficult to articulate your role, your experience, and your passion with short, simple answers.

Then I came across the latest entry from Seth Godin talking about what constitutes a great story. They need to be relevant. They need to be true. They need to appeal to our senses. And they need to capture the imagination.

What a great takeaway for anyone preparing for an interview. Don’t just recite a list of your project experiences – tell your job story.

(reprint, 042706)

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.