Why not approach this interaction as a two-way street where you get to choose the car you drive and the stories you tell?
Consider your value proposition. What impression do you want to leave with the hiring decision-makers? Remember that companies do not hire people. People hire people and the stories you tell them during your interview will either resonate with them or not.
Why do certain candidates stand out over others? In this article published on eremedia.com, the recruiter relays stories for which you won’t want to be remembered, but the corollary is valid. Tell a story that packs a punch and one that they will remember.
Years ago I worked with an interview coaching client who told a story, in response to a decision-making question, and I will never forget her answer. She was the communications advisor to an executive at a large medical device company who had an impossible schedule. She needed his undivided attention.
In order to get one-on-one time with him, she booked the seat next to him on a flight he was taking. He had no idea until he found her sitting there beside him. He was the last person to get onto the flight. Now that’s a story to remember. Not everyone will take a risk like that, but it paid off for her and it impressed her boss.
When you cleverly design your interview stories to engage the interviewers, you become memorable and it’s been said that “top of mind is first to find.”
You may feel uneasy or even paralyzed when you are invited into meet your targeted organization. Consider developing stories based on your experiences. People are fascinated by stories.
According to a Harvard Business Review Blog, “Stories that trigger emotion are the ones that best inform, illuminate, inspire, and move people to action. Most everyday workplace conversations are heavy on data and light on stories, yet you need the latter to reinforce your argument. So start incorporating more anecdotes – from your own experience or those about other people, stories and brands (both successes and failures) – into your pitches and presentations.”
See this article for more depth on this topic
Here is an example of a client who recently interviewed for a senior property manager position. When the interviewers asked Bianca to tell them about herself, she told a story about how her career started—when she was five years old!
Bianca’s father owned apartments in their small city and he would take her with him on his rounds to his properties with him every Saturday morning as a child. She fell in love with the customers and enjoyed helping her dad maintain their apartments. She felt very close to her father and got to learn the business from a very early age.
She was offered the job, and she was subsequently told that the story left an impression on them. What a stand-out story to tell in a job interview. She is now managing a commercial portfolio of 5.2 million ft2 for a growing company in a major city.
Of course, the interview is never over until you receive the job offer. The most challenging component of the job search process can be the post-interview period. This is a hopeful time and it is also an anxious time for candidates as they wait for news to come.
The number one advice that every career strategist will give you is simple. Follow-up. There are many ways to use the post-interview period productively because the interview is never over until you receive the job offer.
Sometimes this can be painfully slow. In fact I had a client years ago who applied for a government position in May and began working in November.
Follow-up strategies include a job proposal letter where you position yourself as the ideal candidate based on your value proposition and how you can solve that company’s issues in [insert your expertise here].
Telephone calls carefully crafted can have a tremendous impact on the hiring decision makers. Keep it simple and follow this suggested format. You will likely reach voicemail.
“Mr. Vacon, this is Gretchen Soople. It was such a pleasure to meet with you and Ms. Shaw last Tuesday. I remain keenly interested in this role and am anxious to move forward to the next step in the process. I realize you are very busy, so I will call back again tomorrow at 8:30 to speak to you then. My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.”
Gretchen followed up six times, always very politely and respectfully. After waiting for three weeks after the interview, she received a job offer and here is the email I received from her last week.
“After being in the role, I have heard many things about my original application for the job. One of which is that my hiring manager was very impressed with my determination to get the job. In other words, the fact that I kept calling her really impressed her. I also found out that 750 people had applied for the job.”
Creating powerful stories and tenaciously following up can help you land the job of your dreams. Being memorable is the key.
What is your stand-out story?