Yesterday, I had an interview for a teaching position at a law firm here in Seoul. Usually, I am the one doing the interview (the interviewer), but this time I was the person being interviewed (the interviewee) It was a very strange experience, but an experience I learned a very valuable lesson from.
Usually, when I interview someone here in Korea, I get the standard “Naver” or “Daum” answers. I can tell immediately when an interviewee is giving a memorised answer that they got from the internet pages of Naver or Daum. It never impresses me, and (perhaps this is my age) it really irritates me. There is no need for anyone to have to memorise their answers to an interview question if they just told stories from their life that were related to the question.
For example, I was asked: “How do you handle a difficult student?” my reply was to tell the story of a student who came in to my class late, began to interrupt other students when they were answering questions and dominating the class. I also told the interviewer how the atmosphere in the class deteriorated to the point where I had to call a break and talk to the student in private outside.
In that story I not only answered the interviewer’s question, but I answered in a way that they could relate to and understand. They were able to imagine the feeling in the classroom, and they could also imagine the frustration that not only I felt, but the other students felt. I also showed that I had the courage to take a student out of a classroom and talk to them privately (which, sadly, many teachers never do)
Th lesson I learned here was that while we, and many other blogs on presenting tell you, to tell stories, telling stories should not only be limited to presenting. Becoming good at telling stories can give your interviewing technique an incredible boost, and help you to land the job you have been dreaming of.
Our lives and the lives of everyone around you are made up of stories. It is these stories that make you an individual, and it is these stories that make you unique. The best advice I can give you for improving not only your presentational skills, but you whole communication skill is to learn how to tell stories well.
So, go on, tell your story and watch interviewers, audiences and your colleagues eyes light up with interest and excitement and see how your career dramatically improves.