The Interview Stories Method Helps You Get Your Dream Job

October 8th, 2011 by lewis

This morning I re-read Dale Carnegie’s bestselling book, How to Win Friends & Influence People.  Written in 1936, this timeless book is the king of self-improvement books.  Thinking about what makes his book so memorable, it’s his technique of using a large number of stories to convey a single self-improvement message.

It’s a great reminder to job seekers: if you want to convey a message, tell a story.  Here’s why stories work well during the interview.

Stories are fun and engaging.
Most interview responses are boring and lack excitement.  By sharing vivid stories, you appear to be an interesting, well-liked person.

Stories are memorable.
Most interview responses are undifferentiated.  However, stories are personal, and personal stories make you stick out in the interviewer’s mind.  When there’s a large number of job candidates, sticking out is certainly better than blending in.

Good stories deliver a single message.
The best storytellers have one main message behind a single story.  Excellent storytellers, like Carnegie, use multiple stories to reinforce a single message. If there’s anything to be learned from a good marketer or politician, it’s that listeners want simple, focused messages.  A single, well-crafted message makes more impact than multiple, undeveloped messages.

Stories offer evidence.
Let’s say an interviewer asks you, “How would you handle a stressful situation?” If you answer with a hypothetical response, it shows you know what needs to be done.  But if you answer with a story, it shows that you’ve actually done it before — and most likely can do it again.

Stories convey emotion.
Stories typically share emotion: anxiety, fear, or joy.  Emotions make us human.  Oprah Winfrey is a great example of someone who freely shares her emotions.  And whether she shares joy or anxiety, it reminds us that she’s just like the rest of us — which makes her more likable.

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