Every Story Tells a Picture
The writer Tolstoy said there are only two stories; “a Man goes on a journey, and a Stranger comes to town”.
In the world of getting a job, the highlights of a past journey of yours, becomes your success story. But more on that later.
First, there are two interview scenarios to consider when you think about sharing your success stories
(1) will it be during a telephone interview where I can’t pickup on any visual cues, or make eye contact? or (2) will I be lucky and will I be telling my success stories in a face to face interview, where I can make eye contact, and benefit from body language?
Assume you are face to face, and given an opportunity to capture the attention of the Interviewer. Do you think creating and practicing a success story is a good investment of your time? YES!
You may ask, does this mean I have to be a great storyteller? No, but you need to be as good as you can be. Fully prepared. Economy of words. Rising interest and excitement.
You need to create a success story starting with a problem that needs to be solved. (step by step how to do it here)
Tell Don’t Sell
“Selling yourself” is very difficult for most people. When zenPeak conducts an EQ profile on a Candidate, one of the things we learn is how good you are at self-promotion, so we can help you get past that hurdle. Self-promotion isn’t the main reason someone wants to hire you (even for sales jobs) So, no worries – in an interview, blatant self-promotion won’t help you – it doesn’t work.
A well-crafted success story shines a light on you, and your capabilities, without the ego. The picture you want to conjure up is one of you able to contribute to solving the day to day issues and problems of the job you are being considered for.
every engaging story has this structure, called the dramatic arc. It starts with something new and surprising, and increases tension with difficulties that the characters must overcome, often because of some failure or crisis in their past, and then leads to a climax where the characters must look deep inside themselves to overcome the looming crisis, and once this transformation occurs, the story resolves itself.
EXTRA THOUGHTS: I often get asked what is your focus in Executive Search or as a Recruiter? I think there are clear sources of expertise that gives a Recruiter high value insight into both the needs of the Client and the capabilities of the Candidate.
If we are asked by a Client, to conduct an Executive Search for someone at the management level, then having had senior executive and entrepreneurial experiences, is helpful in determining when someone has been called on to provide true leadership and critical decision-making, or whether the title overstates the role. Our expertise as a Recruiter when conducting an Executive Search Assignment, is having had domain expertise. In our case, since we focus on the “leadership level” that would be evaluating a Candidate for the scope of their responsibilities in segments such as tech, media, mobile or financial services. We aren’t giving a test for someone’s proficiency as a software developer, but perhaps more their management leadership in building solutions from conception, through business cases, budgeting all the way to completion and post-mortem. This may include functional areas of an enterprise besides IT, such as marketing, legal, operations etc.