The Recruitment Underground Blog

Career Skills, Training and Transitions

So What’s Your Story?

Posted by jamesseetoo on July 6, 2009

Everybody likes a good story.  Not everyone likes the same story but really good stories have the same elements or framework that everyone recognizes and the better you can tell a story the more effective a communicator you’ll be.  (And you’ll be a better candidate)

This is especially true as more companies go to the Behavioral Interview.  Rather than asking a series of questions that go over your background and what you’ve done, the Behavioral Interview is designed to get the context around the facts rather than just the facts of your job history.

And that’s what makes a good story – a fact wrapped in emotion with a call to action.

Now, you may wonder how to put your career into a story.  It’s simple – take a look at your resume.  What does it say to you?  Is there a coherent thread running through it?  If not, then that’s the first place to start and it’s vitally important that you understand where each step in your working life has taken you and why.  They should tell the story of how you got to where you are now and where you are going.

So let me tell you a story.

I had been at my previous position for over four years helping to build a company by bringing great talent to that organization.  But through it all, the one thing I am absolutely passionate about is helping people to advance their careers by getting them an opportunity with a great organization.  And at the same time, being absolutely up front when a candidate is not a good fit for a job – even if it’s for personal reasons and not professional ones like family considerations.

So when my position disappeared due to an acquisition, I wondered, how can I continue to help people join great organizations and take their careers to the next level? After all, I no longer had a venue to operate from but rather than wait until I joined another company I decided to start this blog and begin writing my ebook.  (Shameless plug)

By doing this, I am free to share some behind the scenes things that I wasn’t able to while working for a company .  For example, even though we all think applying for jobs online is a waste of time, companies often need applicants to do that because of EEO and OFCCP regulations.  So companies are required to treat people this way – all bad.

And if your resume doesn’t tell you a story then that’s an indication that you need to build a career, not just build a job history.

So what happens if you’re not having a Behavioral Interview?

Well, you can just answer questions like, are you proficient in MS Word with “Yes”.  If you just answer “yes” what does that say about you?

Take control of the conversation and make it into a Behavioral Interview with an answer like, “Yes, I had to put together a boilerplate contract once and it was important for me to be able use many of the different features such as highlighting, and custom formatting etc.”  You get the idea.

It’ll be more fun and it gives you an opportunity to turn the interview into a discussion rather than an interrogation.

And since it’s your story, you get to choose how it ends.

Remember, your skills are your job security.


James Seetoo


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2 Responses to “So What’s Your Story?”

  1. Heather R said

    Hi James — thanks for the visit to my blog and for putting me on your blogroll — it was a pleasant surprise, and I’ve now got you marked too!

    As for my story, the funny thing is that my story has changed a lot due to two layoffs in a row. Yes, I’m still a Finance / Operations person, but getting heavily involved in a networking group has helped me understand I have other talents — being called a “Marketing Maven” was a mind-blower! And blogging has become a great creative outlet for me — which is something I never really expected of myself. Guess now I’d say my story is that I’m a work in progress.



    • jamesseetoo said

      Thanks Heather, I think your story is enlightening and inspiring and I look forward to following it closely.


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