<img src="https://secure.wait8hurl.com/197941.png" alt="" style="display:none;">
Candidate Access
Log in
Sign up
Ask your demo now
tips for candidates

How To Tell Your Career Story In An Interview

The current job market is fiercely competitive, and job seekers must find ways to differentiate themselves from their peers to stand out. 

Molecular biologist John Medina explains in his popular book, Brain Rules, that emotions play a significant role in how recruiters evaluate job applicants. Even though recruiters may claim to base their decisions solely on logic, their emotions are equally influential. 


So, you must tell compelling stories in your resumes, cover letters, and interviews to develop memorable interactions. In this post, we’ll come up with some tips for effectively telling your stories in an interview and what mistakes you should avoid along the process. 


Tips For Telling Your Career Story in an Interview

Telling a story can be a highly effective tool for influencing and persuading others. According to research, expressing your opinions can often polarize people rather than persuade them, and statistics are often challenging to remember, even when used as evidence. 

When it comes to landing a great job, you need to use your storytelling power throughout the hiring process. So, here is how you can weave storytelling into your job-hunting process and get noticed

  • Understand your audience

It’s becoming more common for employers to utilize AI-based Applicant Tracking Systems to review resumes and make initial selections based on certain criteria like matching keywords with job descriptions. 

While it’s critical to create ATS-friendly resume, it’s also important to remember that a human behind the screen will ultimately make the decision. So, you want to appeal to both the AI and the human recruiters.

Now, you can’t pack as much experience as you can fit into a resume, email, or 30-minute interview. Do you think your recruiter is going to remember everything you mentioned in your application or interview? 

We don’t think so. Therefore, it’s wiser to prioritize the most relevant information. For this, you need to do some research to understand your audience and outline your goals. 

Before crafting your resume or cover letter, take some time to research the company and understand its business, industry, and current challenges. This will help you tailor your narrative to showcase how your skills and experiences make you the perfect candidate for their specific needs.

When crafting your application materials, remember that recruiters are looking for more than just technical skills. Soft skills such as authenticity, strong communication, mindfulness, inclusivity, and the ability to bring new perspectives to a team are equally important. 

Rather than using jargon and generic keywords, aim to convey your unique voice and tone to showcase your authenticity and humanity. After all, you want to stand out as a real human, not a cookie-cutter applicant.

  • Create your narrative 

When preparing to interact with a recruiter, hiring manager, or anyone else during your job hunt, it's important to have a single, simple theme that thoroughly expresses what you bring to an organization. 

We also call it the "big idea" or “theme” in storytelling, and it should be integrated into all of your written and verbal communications.

If you're a recent graduate or someone with limited job experience, you can still craft a compelling theme by drawing on your unique life experiences, history, and perspective. Your theme should be specific to the job you're applying for and highlight the strengths and skills that make you the perfect candidate.

  • Write your script 

When crafting your job journey, it's important to think of each encounter as a scene in a multi-act drama. To make your message dynamic and engaging, you should structure your scripts to have four distinct parts: an opening or grabber, your message, reasons that support your message, and a call to action.

You can apply this 4-part script structure to all of your conversations including interviews. By utilizing this method, you can present yourself as a well-prepared candidate with a clear set of goals.

  • Organize just two or three stories 

It’s a good idea to focus on a few relevant stories. Memorizing too many stories and moments may lead to insufficient preparation. Your goal is to showcase your track record, achievements, and versatility in the interview. 

Remember that a single story can be used as a response to several questions. Practicing your stories and incorporating these techniques can help you create a more unique and effective storytelling style during interviews.


Avoid common storytelling mistakes

Here are some notable mistakes people make when trying to tell their career stories in an interview:

  • Overloading the story with excessive detail

  • Providing too little or high-level information

  • Not highlighting the action part of the story

  • Failing to demonstrate the thought process and strategy

  • Overusing the pronoun "we" instead of focusing on individual contribution.


Final thoughts

Keep in mind that you are already proficient in storytelling, even if you may not realize it. We tell stories every day when we share our experiences with others, whether it's catching up with coworkers or chatting with friends and family. All you need to do is choose a few of your inspiring stories and use them to make your interactions with recruiters more memorable.