Interview Advice - What’s your Story?

Posted on 13 March 2022

Businesses potential and success can be measured by the quality of their employees and so hiring is a chance for a business to improve. Therefore they are naturally looking for the very best candidate they can find.

This article is based on making sure you can ensure you highlight your talents effectively, we won't be covering the standard interview preparation advice, but how you can do more to stand out from the other interviewees and ensure you give the best impression of yourself.

You need stories, not fabrications but actual examples of what you have achieved, transformed, changed, learnt or improved. This may sound obvious but thousands of candidates interview every day and only a few get this right. Stories are more memorable for interviewers, they stick in people's memories, bringing your experience to life and enabling the interviewer(s) to visualise you in their role, successfully delivering its duties.

As an interviewer selecting the best candidate can be incredibly hard and you have to remember very few hiring managers have ever had any detailed training in interviewing and hiring. Hiring managers aren't perfect they are not trained investigators with interrogation skills to ensure they get the truth, so it is important you realise as the interviewee it is your responsibility to ensure that you leave the interview having given the best presentation of your suitability to the vacancy as possible.

There are a few ways to do this, but firstly you must avoid the trap of forcing a story into a question's response just because it is great and you want to ensure it is highlighted. Instead, if you have some strong examples that you wish you could have mentioned and there hasn't been an opportunity the best time to bring them up is at the end of the interview. At the "do you have any questions" point, say yes, but firstly there are a few relevant achievements we haven’t covered I would like to highlight... or alternatively you can mention them as part of your closing statement.

A closing statement is the last thing you say as part of the formal interview, a lot of candidates don’t do this and it can leave the hiring manager feeling unsure if you want the job. You should never assume your interest has come across, instead to make sure it does, outline your interest in the role, even more so having had the interview and that you are eager to proceed to the next stage.

To do this it can help if you track your successes and personal developments as they happen, either keep a note, update your CV or LinkedIn profile, you should have a long version of your CV that you shape for individual vacancy's requirements. This benefits interview preparation but also is a usual habit when it comes to review or bonus time as you can produce detailed examples of what you have achieved.

Your stories are unique to you, they separate you from everyone else and strengthen your cause, hiring managers will offer the candidate they have the most confidence in and the ability to picture you in the role really enforces this.

Remember, I call them stories but they must be factually accurate and you need to be able to align their relevance to the vacancy’s requirements, it is important you consider what you have achieved, not as part of a wider team, but as an individual.

Be memorable, for the right reasons, and make that hiring decision easier. 

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