Two Storytelling Tips to Use During Your Job Interview

By Career Love

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Remember the rules you learned in school when writing an essay, story or making a presentation?  

Things should have a beginning, a middle and an end. This is exactly what filmmakers and novelists also learn to hook their viewers. Narratives have a beginning, a middle and an end.

Our brains expect this pattern and when it’s missing, something feels off. It feels unsatisfying.

The same applies during your job interview answer.

In a previous article Strategy Hacks to Ace Your Next Job Interview we covered some tips on how to answer the popular job question ‘what’s your greatest weakness?’.

Now let’s dive into your delivery of this information.

When your examples of workplace strengths and weaknesses are wrapped in the blanket of a story, your example should start in the past (beginning), continue over some time (middle) and taper out into the present (end).

As part of this formula you must reveal how your weakness showed up in the past (e.g. when did it begin? In which situations? In which particular phase did it become critical?).

Always be specific. Include little details rather than being general and sweeping. Pack your story timeline with details of how the situation evolved.

How do you unlock specific nuggets of information and jog your memory?

Tip #1: Use the 5 Ws of journalism

Here are some prompt ideas: 

  • What (which weakness, what was the problem?)
  • Who (who was involved, internal/external partners, who triggered the weakness?)
  • Where (which company / department / team / project?)
  • Why (why was it blocking you? Which fear? Why was the weakness an issue?)
  • How (how did you move into solution mode? How did you solve it or minimize it? How did it work out in the end? How is it currently?)

The final stage of your answer (the END) is when you express how you’re working to master your weakness.

Explain where you woke up to your stumbling, how you sought solutions, which solutions were best and how they worked out. How did you master, minimize or bring your weaker areas under control?

Tip #2: Seize a storytelling strategy to make a deep impression

By answering in a story-like manner with a beginning, middle and end, you’re showing the listener several amazing things that are certain to impress:

  • You demonstrate that you’re very self-aware (balance between strengths and weaknesses)
  • You can identify and make an effort to remove any roadblocks to succeeding at your task or project
  • You see how even small things are interconnected and can impact your performance and your team
  • You don’t stand still and get bogged down in the negative: you’re pro-active

By doing this, it demonstrates that you’re proud to grow both in your personal development and as a professional in your industry.


This article is from the latest CareerLove release: Turn Your Weakness Into Strength: A Step-By-Step Interview Strategy. For over 15 years at CareerLove International Coaching I've helped professionals around the world move closer to their dream job. Now what about you?

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