Imagine yourself suffering from a heartbreaking stuttering disorder. You have never managed a clear word and it’s difficult to get a single sentence out to your loved ones. Making friends and being bullied has been a common trend all through your life but little do they know you have a gift that you are sure no one will ever discover about you due to your inabilities. Then your family encourages you to audition for American Idol to broadcast your secret singing voice to all of America and several months later your life has changed and you have made it to the top ten contestants for 2013 American Idol.
One of my guilty pleasures is to watch all of the reality sing-off competition shows. I know it seems kind of corny, but I am always drawn to the amazing talents of the average American (and then the ones who are obviously just giving a humorous or crazy element to the show to get on TV.) During the audition episodes of American Idol, I found myself and fellow American Idol viewers, being captivated by the stories behind some of the singers. Media talked about these stories in newscasts and social media drawing attention to the show. Coworkers, family and friends were even talking about some of these stories casually at gatherings. I began thinking that it’s the personal stories that keep the ratings high and are what keeps people watching this show after ten years. Each person’s unique story gives the audience a reason to root for that particular person to do well in the competition, watching them until the end. When making their final decision, even the judges take both their stories and their talent into consideration when voting who should move on to the next round.
As a recruiter, I began to relate this to the interview process. The job seekers that tend to tell their stories in interviews through examples, small talk, answers to their interview questions or simply their personality, tend to leave a stamp on the employer’s mind just like it does to the viewers and judges in American Idol. If job seekers gave themselves a chance to express their true and honest self, they wouldn’t get lost in the sea of applicants. It’s obvious when people are giving you scripted or false answers just to get through the interview. But it’s the candidates that are truly themselves and give you something to remember them by that actually go farther and through to the end.
The one thing to remember here is, you only have one shot to let your audience know the real you. So, be yourself by telling your story or using stories of your past to let people understand why you have a passion for seeking out a new opportunity. It’s almost certain that they will want to see you through to the end. Your story is what will set you apart from others, build your fan base and pass you onto to the next round or chapter of your life.