Recently, I was working out of a cafe when I overheard a conversation at the next table. It was a hiring meeting involving a company founder and a candidate. The candidate’s questions and her voice made it obvious that she had apprehensions.
The one doing the most talking was the founder of the company. He was explaining what his company does, what its approach is and how they operate.
At one point in the conversation, he said, “We started out as a husband-wife team. Actually, I remember the days when our home was full of boxes ready to ship to customers and was more like a storehouse than a home.”
He went on to tell the candidate how the company was started and what inspired him to get into an industry he and his wife knew little about.
Once he said this, the candidate started to relax. She started engaging in the conversation and her voice eased off. She asked more questions and started sharing about her expectations of the job and the kind of career she wants to shape for herself.
Ease That Apprehension
Many hiring interviews are formal and one-sided. Oftentimes it is the candidate who gives information on what their previous roles were and what they can bring to their new role.
It is also an opportunity for the employer (hiring manager) to paint the right picture about the company, provide a fair idea about the operating climate and the key values that drive the work culture in the organisation.
In the above meeting, the candidate was apprehensive about the company (more so because it wasn’t a known brand). She had unasked questions about working for the new employer. The founder adopted simple storytelling techniques to give her a transparent account of how it is to work there. The founder could have used abstract terms such as passion and transparency. But instead shared stories and anecdotes to let know about core values that are celebrated at the company.
Storytelling Builds Connections
Stories are the perfect vehicle to ensure the other party understands the messages and makes connections with you. It talks to reason and emotion which helps to ease tensions and address questions.
During hiring interviews, the use of storytelling can help to let people bring their guard down and converse in a more natural manner.