Why some folk win at interview.

Some years ago my mother-in-law passed away. Sadly the later years in her life were not happy ones because she was suffering from Alzheimers with attendant depression. Her final days were spent in a home, to my mind an outstandingly good one with wonderful staff, but nonetheless a place where she did not want to be.

Grown up now all three of my children thought she was wonderful and still miss her badly. One reason why was that she had a remarkable ability to tell a story. Not ones they knew, or from books

30411891 - nice elderly woman grandmother reading story to sweet young granddaughter

she had read, but straight from her own imagination.

Often when she visited the kids would lay in bed ready for sleep as Nana spun them a yarn before their eyes closed. Usually the stories would relate to something happening in their lives but there would always be colourful flights of imagination.

Bedtime could often be a long process but my children were always ready for bed when Nana came to stay. If only I had recorded the stories, or written them down with her… but hey, there we go, an opportunity missed.

Do we ever lose our love of stories?

As adults we still love to hear a good story, whether it be a book or a film, perhaps a radio play. In our social lives we love to listen to people who can tell a good story. There is, perhaps, nothing better than spending time with a friend who can spin a good yarn. According to Don Norman in his book ‘Things That Make Us Smart‘:

“Stories are important cognitive events for they encapsulate, into one compact package, information, knowledge, context and emotion.”

Roger C Schank, a cognitive scientist, says, “Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic: they are ideally set up to understand stories.”

Tell stories at interview.

In an interview many people have a tendency to use strings of adjectives to descibe their skills and competencies. My perennial favourite is when interviewee’s are asked to describe their management style. At least 50% of people will respond, “Firm but Fair.”

How much more effective would it be to tell a short story illustrating your management style and providing behavioural evidence of your qualities?

A Word of Caution:

While story-telling can be effective, it can also be dry and boring. All of us tell stories… but not often in formal circumstances. At first it may seem stiff and awkward because you are afraid of using humour or self-deprecation.

Stories though can be told, with a little thought and preparation. that will entertain and attract your audience and hopefully help you to secure that job. If you wish to know more about story telling call me on 07802 238697 or email me at ricbandrews@gmail.com


Who am I? A chap living in Nottingham, United Kingdom who perhaps has a much higher level of enthusiasm than ability leading to an interest in many things but mastery of none. A father of three no longer dependent children, or so they tell me, and husband to a one-time nurse who now works with me (or rather I work for). I attempt to take photographs and occasionally fluke half decent shots though thank goodness I no longer have to buy film. I endeavour to practice karate but with advancing years spend more time instructing them participating but actively participate in the more gentle tai chi. Professionally I have spent the last twenty years in recruitment – not always the most highly regarded ‘industry’. For my part I take great pleasure in helping companies to find the right people and a lot of satisfaction out of seeing them thrive and succeed. More recently I have spent a lot of time helping people who have, or fear they may, lose their jobs. For many putting a CV together is so difficult and then finding opportuniteis can be a major challenge. Interviews can be a different problem altogether but with a little help most people can perform a lot better than they otherwise would.

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