The great resignation, the talent wars and college graduations, all coming together, meaning more job interviews.
This is also an opportune time to focus on the six steps to storytelling success in job interviews.
If you’re about to “audition” for the job you’ve always wanted, check these steps off your prep list:
• Understand the story of the company about to inter- view you. Learn as much as you can about that company. Comb through every page of their website, look at their YouTube presence, their Link-edIn page, anywhere you can find out more about the company to get an understanding of what they do and how they do it.
But understanding their story also means looking at leadership, seeing what you can find out on the website about the leadership team, then going to Google, entering their name, clicking the news button so you can see when they were in the news lately, reading what you can about them, checking them out on LinkedIn.
It also means working to find out who you might be interviewing with and finding out everything you can about those people.
The goal is for you to understand that company, so you can get a feel first for how much you think you match up with them going into the interview and what you might want to learn about them during the interview.
• Outline the questions that you’re going to ask. The questions need to be open ended, and it’s not so much about asking about the job title or the compensation or the weeks off, paid time-off policy.
The questions you want to ask should entice the inter- viewer into talking about what you’re asking. You want to ask questions, such as what’s the one thing that’s absolutely needed to succeed in this specific position?
The converse can be asked, what’s the one thing that will lead or has led to failure in this position?
Ask that interviewee why they chose to work there and why they still work there?
• Prepare and practice your story. Your story has to have anecdotes and analogies, and you also have to bring specificity to your successes. You want to tell stories about what you’ve accomplished.
Tell stories about your skills and how they apply to this position, anecdotes and analogies to make the point.
You want to be able to walk through what your communication style is. Why?
Because if you can learn what they’re looking for and if they know what your communication style is, it’s about having a fit.
• Listen actively, carefully and beyond words. You’re listening and watching for non-verbals. You’re listening to hear specifics that they give you about how that position is structured and what type of words they use to describe what you’ll be doing, who you’ll be doing it with and how you’ll be communicating.
Those all tie back to you understanding yourself.
• Tell your story. Use inflection, leverage silence and pauses. The pause gives them a chance to respond and also lets you pick up their non- verbals and helps you with your pace.
The inflection is to empha-size certain words and be able to get you to have that vocal heterogeneity that you want so there’s some variety in how you’re telling the story and how you are leveraging the power of storytelling.
It’s also essential to tell the truth. Don’t embellish.
They’re going to say, “Tell me about your weaknesses.” You often hear this cliché response, “My biggest weak-ness is I care too much. My biggest weakness is I work too hard.”
No, give a real answer that ties back to who you are. Pick whatever your weakness is and tell the truth.
You’re going to present yourself in the best possible way around that truth, but embellishing it to the nth degree or making things up is simply not the way to tell your story.
• Close with a memorable anecdote that ties together your biggest strengths, and biggest core values and how those match that com- pany’s needs and their core values.
Now here’s the key. If you are preparing that anecdote, it’s your go-to closing story. But if you realize throughout this interview that maybe you and the company are not a good fit, you still have to close with the same story and talk about it.
How the close unfolds eventually should play a role in whether you choose to take the job if they offer it. When you’re telling your story in a truthful manner that presents you in the best way.
You’re talking about culture and core values and mission, vision and purpose.
You and the interviewer are going to be able to learn more of the truth about each other and whether you’re a fit.
Isn’t that really what we’re trying to do amid this great resignation and when people are jumping from job to job, and we’ve got this talent war supposedly going on?
Then, we’ve got a bunch of new college grads looking to get jobs.
Aren’t we really trying to find fits? A fit for each party, a fit for the company so that they can succeed and live that mission, vision and purpose, and have a person who poss- esses the strengths that match up and the culture matches their behavioral needs.
David Mastovich is founder and CEO of MASSolutions, host of the No BS Marketing podcast and author of the book “Get Where You Want to Go Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling.”