Best Way to Use Stories and Enthusiasm to Attract Potential Employees

Where appropriate, communicate by telling stories. People listening to a story are less skeptical, more inclined to accept what you are saying. And people remember stories. Telling a story is also an excellent way of establishing rapport with the other person. Make your story short, though. And be sure it has a point.

My friend, Syd Lieberman, who is a professional story­teller, tells the tale of Yankel, the fool. One day Yankel was Working in the field when a man rode by on horseback and noticed that painted on Yankel’s barn were twelve targets, each with a tiny bull’s-eye. There was an arrow in the exact center of each bull’s-eye. The man stopped and called to Yankel, “Yankel, who shot these arrows?”

Attract Potential Employees Best Way to Use Stories and Enthusiasm to Attract Potential Employees

“I shot them, but why do you ask?” replied Yankel.

“Because you must be the greatest marksman in all the world, hitting the center of each of these bull’s-eyes.”

“Ah,” said Yankel, “I am afraid that you are mistaken, I am not much of a marksman.”

“But these bull’s-eyes, the arrows?”

“Yes, but you see first I shoot the arrows, then I paint the bull’s-eyes.”

So gather a quiver-full of your story-arrows in advance, and shoot them into the bull’s-eyes when you see them.

Don’t be afraid to try something different in an interview. I recall the time I was interviewing a woman who, prior to going to law school, had spent some time ghostwriting a book for a man in a small town in Indiana. It seems this fellow had made a pile of dough auctioning off the contents of hotels that had gone bankrupt, and wanted his exploits to be immortalized in a book.

I asked the interviewee whether she still maintained con­tact with the hotel auctioneer. She said no, she hadn’t spoken to him in about three years. “So let’s call him,” I suggested.

After she picked herself off the floor, she responded, “But we can’t do that. I don’t know his phone number.”

“Well, he lives in this little town in Indiana, doesn’t he? Let’s just call information,” I said.

We called information, got his phone number and the fellow happened to be in. I put him on the speaker phone and the interviewee and I had a pleasant, ten-minute conver­sation with her former employer.

As I recall, we were not successful in hiring the inter­viewee (she went to a New York firm), but I’ll bet anything she remembers our interview. Being memorable in a positive way is a good goal for an interviewer to establish in trying to sell a candidate.

Attract Potential Employees 1 Best Way to Use Stories and Enthusiasm to Attract Potential Employees

Finally, genuine enthusiasm is catching. An interviewer or interviewee who sells with enthusiasm is far more likely to convince than the person who appears to be giving a pat response for the fiftieth time (even if the response is in fact true and it is the fiftieth time the person has given it). The depth of your conviction, not the height of your logic, is what sells. As one interviewee put it, “Nothing turned me off faster than the interviewers who sounded as if they’d rather be hauling trash than talking to me, or who sounded bored with their lives.”

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