My candidate had an absolutely excellent track record. He had 15 years of excellent performance in three different firms, had left them for very good reasons and was going to make some company a real winner. Admittedly, he hadn’t interviewed for a job for quite a long time and agreed that he had to practice. Interviewing does not come naturally and, unfortunately, companies and the people in them make decisions about the candidate’s ability to do the job based on their ability to interview. (A discussion for another time)
I try to reinforce to each candidate that I work with, especially when I get them an interview to make sure that they come up with at least one or two stories that communicate how good they really are. Unfortunately, I made the assumption that this guy was so good he wouldn’t have any problem coming up with the story and, even though I do with most candidates, I didn’t question him about the story he was going to tell. He had so many successes in his career, I was certain he would do fine.
Unfortunately, he assumed he would do fine and did not practice telling the story. So, when one of my clients asked him to tell a story about one of his successes, in short, he blew it. According to my client, who was the interviewing authority, he rambled so long in the story he chose to tell it became hard for the hiring authority to follow it. He got lost in the story . . . literally lost. He said, “I really loved this guy until he started telling the story. I asked a few more questions but I’m still not clear what his story was about.”
Our client is still going to consider the guy. But to make matters even worse, the “punchline” of the story was that the candidate wasn’t successful in making the sale of the story he told. Basically, he told an elongated story that was hard to follow and the end was a defeat or, at least a disappointment. In other words, it was a terrible story choice.
The impact of stories is phenomenal. People always remember stories, but the stories need to be GOOD! They need to be long enough to be memorable but short enough to maintain attention, while displaying a positive outcome. Stories need to be practiced to the point that they literally roll off the tongue and have a phenomenal impact.
Our candidate, is now aware and prepared for the next interview with an effective and memorable story.
Develop your storytelling skills to elevate your interview from good to great by connecting with the hiring authority, and leaving a positive impression.