How storytelling in an interview will help land your dream job

This interviewer shares how and why he hires certain candidates. Take notes.

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As a journalist, I interview people nearly every day, from politicians to CEOs to college presidents to people on the street. That experience has proven invaluable to me when I hire.

When I interview candidates, I usually start by asking them to tell me about themselves. Such open-ended questions sometimes puzzle people who have over-prepared for the typical questions: name your strengths, talk about challenges, etc.

I once interviewed a candidate who looked great on paper, but when I asked that opening question couldn’t figure out where to begin his story. He restarted it three different times, jumping from his childhood to college to his first job as a teenager and ended up talking for 20 minutes. Not everyone’s career needs to follow the perfect narrative arc, but I like to hear the thought process behind why candidates made certain decisions in their career.

Journalism is about storytelling, and so is interviewing for a job. When I hire, I’m looking for people to tell me stories about their lives. In many ways, the most successful candidates that I have hired followed some of the basic building blocks of journalism, among them:

What is the angle of your story?

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