Storytelling in an IT Job Interview
Storytelling, or the ability to tell a story, is a tendency in advertising, communication, and marketing. It has been proven that people understand, retain, and empathize much more with information told through the form of a story. If this technique is a sound way of selling a product, it is reasonable to assume that it is also the best way of selling our skills in a job interview.
Why should we use storytelling in a job interview?
Simply put, the human brain is more receptive and active when listening to a story. When exposed to or given a list of information or facts, our brain activates areas specifically focused on decoding and logically ordering it. However, when what is received is a story, the recipient releases oxytocin (a hormone that makes interpersonal empathy easier), which basically means that the listener is more willing to help by being reflected in the story told.
For example, if you opt for a position as a programmer, it’s not enough to explain only the programming languages you work with or even demonstrate your ability to write code. Rather than listing your previous employers, let the interviewer know how you obtained your skills and how they helped you with actual projects. Don’t forget that every good story has its ups and downs. Stories about perfection may bore the interviewer, because—let’s be honest—perfection doesn’t exist. The difficulties, the learning experience, the mistakes, and the way we got over them are as important in a good story as the successes. Don’t wait for the interviewer to ask about your weaknesses; just go ahead and tell him about a time when you made a mistake and how you resolved it or at least tried to.
These are some examples of stories that you will surely identify with, and if you modify them with you own employment history, you will succeed in your own interviews:
- A story of how you dealt with (and solved) a conflict with a colleague
- A story of how you resolved a difficult situation with a major client
- A story of how one of your ideas helped to improve a specific situation or circumstances in your work or study group
- A story of your best professional experience
- A story about why you opted for a degree related to technology
- A story of how and why you developed your first project: software, website, app, etc.
- A story of how you balanced your professional/student activity with a difficult personal moment