Okay, you got so lucky to receive an invite to your dream job interview. Hurrah!
Surprisingly, you did well on planning in advance and taking the time to match your skills to those demanded by both the job description and the company’s values.
So, finally, you got the big moment, sat in front of the interviewers and went through the tell-me-about-a-time-when saga.
You were also able to tell proper STAR technique stories about your performance-driven competencies. Well done!
Unfortunately, after two weeks, you got delivered the bitter news to your inbox. Oh no!
What might have gone wrong with your stories?
Here you are some recommendations you might want to follow next time.
1. Make sure the story is relevant to the skill being investigated
Any storied answer you tell should be appropriate to what is being asked. If you don’t have a story about the skill you are asked to prove, it is wise to not to take a detour. It would be also good saying “I don’t know, I am a fast learner and keen to understand how to do that” or better “In such situation, I would do that”.
2. Provide narrative details
From the former Google’s HR boss to scientific experiments, they all recommend to produce narrative responses (stories and pseudo-stories) to increase the chance of hiring recommendations; self-descriptions, which are decontextualized statements, decrease hiring recommendations. The STAR (Situation, Task/Problem, Action Result) technique is the most used narrative for crafting your skill-proof stories. You can download a template here.
3. Verify that your story leads to a univocal conclusion
Unlike stories told to entertain where creative ambiguity can be a virtue, as job interview stories aim to persuade, they should have a single, sharply defined sense that leads to a single conclusion. For example, if you are trying to explain the approach leading to growth assumptions, make sure to back this by providing telling details. The more you add, the less room is left open for interpretation.
4. Check the internal consistency
Would you ever trust anyone claiming to have great communication skills but then when he/she tells you a story his/her performance sucks? Whatever you claim you believe or can do, practice what you preach. Any disconnect will kill your credibility. All facts must also be in agreement with the timeline of your narrative.
5. Set out consistency with facts the listener holds to be true
Your story should not “contradict or exceed interviewers’ experience.” Even though you support your story with facts, these must be plausible. For example, if you want to climb the Everest, you need years of training. On the same wake, apart from geniuses, if you have no experience about writing, you might not want to state you got a book published.
6. Watch out the way you tell a story as it reveals your personal traits
Besides “what” you say, “how” you tell a story is also important to shape the interviewer’s perception of you. The words you choose, their length and the balance between dialogues and exposition but also the tone of your voice, and even your body language, they are all revealing of your values, beliefs, sense of self and others, or emotional outlook. Want to analyse your emotions while you speak? There is an app for that. Emotion-recognition technologies can already sense your emotions from the tone of our voice (Beyond Verbal), biometric data such as heartbeat or electro-dermal activity on the skin (Philips’s Vital Signs, Empatica, Saatchi & Saatchi’s XOX), and even your facial expression, body language and muscle movements (Affectiva, Microsoft’s API, SimSensei). It is also likely that interviewers will soon teach computers to help them draw a picture of your personality and emotions while you speak.
7. Enhance your image with Impression Management techniques
Many candidates use impression management strategies either to promote or downplay one’s strengths. However, there is no guarantee that engaging in self-promotion will result in success; such strategies may also result in undesired image outcomes. So, take this method with a grain of salt.
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Want to tell better stories at the job interview?
Check out StarStorytelling stories and learn from your industry peers.
Did you miss our last post?
Check it out here.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and good luck with your interview!