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Storytelling for Job Interviews

How to use stories, nail an interview and land your dream job!
4.6 (8 ratings)
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67 students enrolled
Last updated 2/2017
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 22 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Unleash the power of stories - the number one skill in business today
Distinguish yourself from the rest of the interview pack
Land a job in three interviews or less (not more than 50!)
Define, find, match, construct and prepare your own stories
Take on tricky questions like: "What's your biggest weakness?"
Use your stories in the first 90 days of your new role and beyond
View Curriculum
  • To get the most out of this course it is important that you have identified a job/s you would like to apply for
  • Make sure you download the accompanying ebook that will guide you through the content and activities during the course
  • You will need to have the job description/requirements for the job/s you are interested in
  • Although you don't need to have an interview lined up, it is important that you have already worked on your CV and initial application so that you will proceed to the next selection stage, the interview



Use stories to build trust, credibility and engage with your future employer – fast – to land your dream job. 

With exercises and step-by-step instructions, this book will teach you how to tell stories about your personal and professional life to connect with your interviewer and stand out from all the other candidates. 

Through the use of storytelling, you’ll demonstrate your capabilities and values, and how valuable an asset you are to any team, organisation and your future employer – no matter what stage you’re at in your career. 


• unleash the power of stories – the number one skill in business today 

• distinguish yourself from the rest of the interview pack 

• land a job in three interviews or less (not more than 50) 

• define, find, match, construct and prepare your own stories 

• take on tricky questions like: ‘What’s your biggest weakness?’ 

• use your stories in the first 90 days of your new role and beyond. 

GABRIELLE DOLAN is an expert in communication and a global thought leader in business storytelling, as well as a highly sought-after keynote speaker and mentor. She is also the best-selling author of Ignite: Real Leadership, Real Talk, Real Results and Hooked: How Leaders Connect, Engage and Inspire with Storytelling. 

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is designed for anyone who is looking to build trust, credibility and engagement with their future employer - fast - to land their dream job
  • For those entering the workforce for the first time, the exercises and step-by-step instructions in this course will teach you how to tell stories about your personal and professional life to connect with your interviewer and stand out from all the other candidates
  • If you are re-entering the workforce after a break, you will learn how to demonstrate your capabilities and values to demonstrate how you are a valuable asset to any team, organisation or future employer
  • The successful use of storytelling will also help those who are interested in changing careers or industries by demonstrating your capabilities, values and skills
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 17 Lectures Collapse All 17 Lectures 57:50
3 Lectures 08:13

Sir Don Bradman was a famous Australian cricketer who had an extraordinary batting average of 99.94. The closest any other cricketer has ever come to that at the end of their career is an average of around 60. 

Can you remember picking teams for different sports as a kid? You would all line up and each captain would take it in turns to pick a person for their team, usually starting with the best player. So if you had Lebron James, Pele or Don Bradman at your school, there would be no doubt that they would always be picked first for their respective sports.

This analogy also applies to success in job interviews. To big picked first every single time you go for a job you need to ensure you are a Bradman.

This lecture will help you to consider where you are on the job interview hierarchy:

  • Bradman (great success)
  • Brilliant
  • Backable
  • Bland
  • Boring (no or little success)
Preview 04:15

This lecture explores how you can use a combination of logic and emotion by sharing purposeful stories within your job interview. 

Typically candidates in a job interview will only rely on logic by simply regurgitating their CV to the panel. Sharing a work related or personal story that demonstrates your capabilities and / or values will help to persuade the panel that you are the right person for this role.

In order to utilise this to your advantage, your stories must be:

  1. PURPOSEFUL - be clear on why you are sharing the story
  2. AUTHENTIC - your stories must be true
  3. CONGRUENT - be true to who you are as an employee

Once you complete this section, take the time to look over the reflection questions attached in the resources for this lesson.

Preview 02:32
Four stories you need to nail a job interview
5 Lectures 15:42

There are four different types of stories that you can share within a job interview to help you demonstrate that you are the perfect candidate for the role.

These stories can be personal, work related or a bit of both and they are designed to demonstrate a capability or a value. Capabilities are the skills or abilities you have, for example, excellent communication or project management skills. Values are the standards of behaviour you expect or demonstrate, such as integrity, honesty or authenticity.

The four types of stories include:

Literal Stories - These stories are always work related and they show what you have been capable of in the past

Learn Stories - These stories can be work related or personal and they demonstrate a valuable lesson you have learnt

Like Stories - These stories can also be both work related or personal and they show how capable you are by sharing an example from a different job, industry or personal experience.

Lateral Stories - These stories are always personal and they demonstrate a particular individual value you have.

Preview 02:44

Literal stories are exactly that: literal. They show you have specific capabilities and experience in the exact situation that the interviewer is looking for. When applying for a similar role in a similar industry, you will likely have a lot of literal stories you can draw on to demonstrate you have the right skills and experience for the role.

For example: 

  • Tell us how you dealt with a particularly challenging customer. 

You tell them about a time you dealt with an angry customer during your time as a sales assistant at a record store, a role that’s similar to the one you’re interviewing for now, just at a different sales-based company.

To broaden your understanding of literal stories, this lecture contains an example in a mock interview situation.

Whilst listening to the story, think about:

  • What the example says about the individual
  • Whether sharing this story is more engaging than just simply sharing facts
  • Potential literal stories of your own you could share in a job interview

You may also like to download the written PDF version that is attached with this lecture.

Literal stories

Learn stories are usually professional or work-related, though they sometimes can be personal. They demonstrate a lesson that you have learned, either by something going right or going wrong. Their power comes from showing your interviewer that you are reflective, self-aware and that you learn by your mistakes. These are very attractive qualities for a potential employer, especially because you’re willing to be vulnerable and to admit that you’ve made mistakes (which we all do as humans). Being able to voice what you learned from that mistake shows maturity, no matter what your age is!

Once again, this lecture contains an example of a learn story in a mock interview. As you listen, think about:

  •  What the example says about the individual
  •  What lesson they learnt 
  •  Identifying some of your own potential learn stories that you could use in a job interview

You may also like to download the written PDF version that is attached with this lecture.

Learn stories

Like stories are mostly personal stories that show your interviewer how capable you are at something. They may also be work-related stories from a different job or industry to the one you are interviewing for. These types of stories are particularly useful for anyone who is entering the workforce for the first time or re-entering after an extended period of time, or anyone changing their career.

For example, imagine you’re applying for a role for which you need project management experience. You may not have worked as a project manager, but for the last three years you may have coordinated your child’s school fete, which involved managing resources, delegating work and ensuring activities were done by their due date.

Whilst listening to the mock interview, think about the following:

  • What the example says about the individual
  • The capabilities or values it shows that could be used in any job role
  • Drawing out your own potential like stories that could be used in a job interview

You may also like to download the written PDF version that is attached with this lecture.

Like stories

Lateral stories are personal stories that demonstrate a particular individual value you have. Told correctly, lateral stories pack a whole lot of punch and can be your most powerful story because they have the potential to connect with the interviewer on a deep and personal level.

Their power comes from their ability to show aspects of your unique personality, which no one else on this planet has. What you’ve done in your past; what experiences you’ve had; what you love to do on a daily basis; these all shape who you are as an individual and instantly distinguish you from anyone else.

When listening to the mock interview example of a lateral story, think about:

  • What this example says about the individual
  • How the person has linked their personal life with their professional life
  • Identifying some of your own lateral stories that you could share in a job interview

As this is the story type that people usually struggle most with, you will find more examples attached below in the PDF resources. They will help you to grasp what a lateral story is and how it can be used to relate back to your unique personality.

Lateral stories

Test your knowledge of the four different types of stories you should use in a job interview to land your dream job.

The Four Story Types
4 questions
Five steps to story success
6 Lectures 23:11

It’s time to learn how to identify and construct your stories. This video introduces you to the 5 step process we will use to help you create a range of stories you can potentially use in a job interview.

The 5 Step Process consists of:

  • Step 1: Define - You will identify all the capabilities and values your potential employer is looking for
  • Step 2: Find - Discover techniques to help you find a variety of work-related and personal stories you can use in your job interview
  • Step 3: Match - How to match all the stories you found in Step 2: Find, with the capabilities and values you identified in Step 1: Define.
  • Step 4: Construct - This step will help you to write out the stories you have already identified.
  • Step 5: Prepare - How to practise and refine your stories so that you deliver them like a Bradman in your job interview.

Remember to refer to the worksheets in the ebook or you can also find them attached as resources in each lecture.

Preview 01:59

The first step involves looking at the actual job description. You must identify what the employer is looking for. What qualities do they seek in their ideal candidate? Who would be the right ‘fit’ for their organisation? 

Values are often described as the right cultural fit for a company or organisation. For example, the panel may be looking for a candidate who is comfortable being challenge, or someone who values diversity.

Capabilities are the skills and abilities that you bring to the workplace. These could include things like excellent organisational, written communication or problem solving skills.

If you skip this step, you won’t know what experience you have that matches the job and you won’t be able to identify the best story to use to demonstrate that.

This lecture will involve identifying and listing all the desired capabilities that your potential employer is looking for. Follow the worksheets (found in the ebook or resources for this lecture) and prompts to help you establish which of these capabilities and values align to your own. You can then find, construct and prepare relevant stories to use during your interview.

Step 1: Define

Once you have defined the capabilities and values that a potential employer is looking for, as well as those that you feel you can offer, including any bonuses, then it’s story-finding time! This step will help you identify examples of the four types of stories that you need to demonstrate your experience in a job interview – literal, learn, lateral and like.

In this lecture, you will discover three different methods you can use to find and detect your stories.

  1. Professional – to find learn and literal stories that show your capabilities 
  2. Personal – to find lateral and like stories that show your values 
  3. Q&A – to find all four story types that show your capabilities or values.

You will find all relevant worksheets in the ebook or attached with the resources for this lecture.

Step 2: Find

Now you’ve identified a lot of different stories that you can use in a job interview. Next, you’re going to match those stories to the capabilities and values that you identified in Step 1: Define. This will help you align stories from your past with the particular capabilities and values that your interviewer is seeking.

It’s important to note, you won’t be writing out any stories in full just yet. (That will happen in Step 4: Construct.) Rather, you’ll need to come up with a short name that summarises each story so that you can remember it. For example: ‘Breaking my leg while skiing’ or ‘Project managing the payroll implementation’.

Follow the process outlined in the lecture to help you match your stories to a capability or value. Make sure you have your previous worksheets accessible and once again, all relevant worksheets can be found in the ebook as well as being attached in the resources for this lecture.

Step 3: Match

After you’ve identified the memories and experiences that will make good stories, and you’ve matched them to your capabilities and values, it’s time to start constructing your stories. 

Remember our friend Aristotle? In addition to devising three stages of influence, he also gave us the perfect three-step story structure: 

  1. Beginning 
  2. Middle 
  3. End. 

It’s a general rule that has withstood the test of time and is still used in everything today from TV soaps to presentations (well, ideally anyway).

Follow the prompts and advice provided in the lecture to help you construct your stories. You will find all the relevant worksheets attached in your ebook as well as in the resources section for this lecture.

Step 4: Construct

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final storytelling step. Now that you’ve got a bunch of literal, learn, lateral and like stories identified and written down, it’s time to practise and prepare for the interview itself. 

There is no better preparation than practising your stories out loud. If you want to take it to the next level, record yourself and play it back to see what you sound like. Better yet, practise with someone you trust who will give you constructive feedback and support. 

Show them the job description and talk them through the capabilities and values you would like to demonstrate at the interview. Share your stories and ask for feedback on your delivery, presentation and how well you demonstrated a particular capability or value.

Watch this lecture to find out 3 additional top tips for storytelling in job interviews to ensure you produce a Bradman performance. 

Step 5: Prepare
What is your greatest weakness?
1 Lecture 03:26

What is your greatest weakness?

This question is usually slipped in at the end of the interview when you are relaxed and think it’s over. If you’re not well prepared (but you will be because you’re aiming to be a Bradman, remember), this question has the power to undo all of your good work. It’s the moment you go from ‘nailed it’ to ‘failed it’ in one swift move.

The aim of this question is not so much to throw you off balance and see how you respond, but more about finding out whether your weakness will make it hard for you to fit in with the organisation and its culture and do a good job. Your future employer wants to know how you handle tough questions – something that you need to be skilled in if you’re going for, say, a sales role.

This lecture looks at how to answer this questions effectively, so that you can show your potential employer that your weakness is also seen as your strength.

Make sure you identify your own weaknesses and how you can use them to your advantage by taking the time to look over the reflection document attached in the resources section of this lecture. 

How to answer that dreaded question
The critical first 90 days in your new role
1 Lecture 05:49

If you’ve followed the process in this course, you’ve gone for your interview and got your dream job – you have nailed it! You’re a Bradman! You might think the hard work stops here, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The first 90 days in your new role is an important time for you to establish yourself, build rapport with your peers and credibility with your managers and team. This is crucial in any role, but critical if you’ve just landed yourself in a position of leadership, management or influence where others are going to be looking to you for guidance.

This lecture discusses how using stories in the first 90 days of your new role will help: 

  • break the ice with your new team and colleagues 
  • demonstrate why you were hired and why you can be trusted to do the job 
  • create a solid foundation for great professional relationships to grow 
  • connect, engage and inspire with your customers and clients 
  • show off your personality.

Once you have completed this lecture, take the time to reflect on your stories and how you could use them effectively within the first 90 days of your new job. Don't forget to download the reflection sheet attached in the resources for this lecture.

Your story kaleidoscope
Where to next?
1 Lecture 01:29

Now that you have completed this course, you've made positive progress towards learning the art of storytelling. The skills and techniques you’ve learned from this program and the stories you have constructed will serve you well in your future career – but this is only the beginning. There are many other ways you can learn to use stories in business, from communicating with customers to inspiring your team. It is a skill worth mastering. Watch this video to find out some of the next steps you can take to help expand your storytelling skills.

Next steps
About the Instructor
4.6 Average rating
8 Reviews
67 Students
1 Course
Author, Speaker and Leading Expert in Business Storytelling

Gabrielle Dolan is a global thought leader in storytelling and business communication

She’s worked with thousands of high-profile leaders from across Australia and the world, helping them to become better leaders and communicators using the art of business storytelling. Gabrielle is a highly sought after international mentor and keynote speaker on these topics.

Gabrielle has worked as an independent business management consultant and has held various senior leadership roles in change management, and learning and development for the National Australia Bank. She successfully co-founded One Thousand & One, one of Australia’s leading storytelling companies, before launching her own practice in 2013.

She is a graduate from the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education in the Art and Practice of Leadership Development program. Her other academic qualifications include a master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Swinburne University and an associate diploma in Education and Training from the University of Melbourne.

In 2015 Gabrielle became an Australian and New Zealand Partner of Thought Leaders Global, where she works with organisations to help them gain a competitive edge through thought leadership. In the same year, she was also nominated for Telstra’s Business Woman of the Year award.

Gabrielle is a best-selling author of Ignite: Real Leadership, Real Talk, Real Results and Hooked: How Leaders Connect, Engage and Inspire with Storytelling. Her third book, Storytelling for Job Interviews, will be published in May 2016.

When she is not writing or working, she can be found wandering in her vegetable garden at her 25-acre rural property on the southern coast of New South Wales. She believes the world would be a better place if there were less manure in business and more manure in gardens.

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