When you successfully tell an engaging story, the levels of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin – increase in the listener’s brain. These are hormones that are also related to love, happiness, and affection.
In the case of a job seeker, looking to increase a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s happiness levels, then it pays to engage with a compelling story.
Now it’s common for a recruiter or hiring manager to ask a warm up interview question along the lines of:
“So tell me about yourself.”
The answer you give can be either fairly vanilla. Or it can be one that helps you make a positive impact in the first few seconds and differentiates you from the job seeker pack.
I teach people how to find their ‘Core Story’. While it does not come easy, it certainly is worth the effort.
Here are some helpful steps to arrive at your Core Story.
1. Work out your purpose
I explained the importance of finding your purpose in a previous article. Some key questions to ask yourself are:
- What triggered you to start on your own journey?
- What events or stories along the way helped to reinforce that your journey was on the right path for you?
- What do you believe in?
- What have you dedicated your life to?
- What are you committed to?
- Why do you get out of bed in the morning, and why should any one care?
- What is the visceral, core reason you do what you do?
2. Look back at a time where the impact of you doing something made you realise you made a positive impact; or where there was suffering because of what did not happen, but could have had something been done.
3. Ideally pick a story that happened a while ago, that serves as a metaphor or an arc for your life.
Because of this…I do that.
4. End with a commitment or dedication statement.
Here is one I workshopped recently with someone I coached.
“On 26 December 2004, when I was holidaying in Thailand, I ran for my life just escaping the devastation of the tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people across the Pacific.
For the next few days, rather than fly out, I wandered the battered streets of Patong utterly awe struck with the loss of life, the devastation, and helped the families that were ripped apart by the violence of mother nature.
Had there been early warning devices, the people who were killed would instead have escaped with their lives.
When I returned home, I changed my studies from Medicine to Marine Engineering and have dedicated my working life to seeing no-one dies needlessly from a tsunami anymore.”
Don’t you think that this person’s Core Story is a lot more engaging than telling an interviewer that you work in Marine Engineering with Acme Inc?
So the next time a recruiter or hiring manager asks you to tell them about yourself, begin your answer along the lines of:
“There’s a lot I could tell you about me, but let me focus on my professional life…
Then launch into your core story.
I have coached many people these last few months.
Those that share their Core Story invariably are not perceived as vanilla. Instead they stand out from the crowd.
Recruiters and Hiring managers fall in love with them.
Almost all the people I coach get a job they really want. You can, too.
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