by Scot Herrick Here on Dice, I've made a big deal about ensuring you tell (remarkable) stories about your work because hiring managers remember stories better than they remember a listing of facts. One must create the stories, practice the stories, and then offer the stories during the interview. You know you will probably get asked what your most important career accomplishment was, don't you? There's your place for a story. As powerful as interview stories are, however, they are not enough. Captivating stories are remembered by hiring managers - but not the benefit of hiring you for the work. Until you get the benefit from the story explained to the hiring manager - connecting the dots - you have a great story, but not the compelling reason to hire you.

How to Connect the Dots

You answer the interview question; perhaps you tell a hero's tale of overcoming adversity in the workplace to still deliver outstanding results to the business. The hiring manager is still staring at you with that "WIIFM?" acronym branded on his or her forehead. The one that says "What's In It For ME?" Because, seriously, that's what the hiring manager is hiring you for: to help meet his or her goals. You answer the question or tell your story. Then you say "...and what that means for you is ____." This is the moment you connect the dots from your skill to your delivery to what's in it for the manager if he hires you. You, compared to everyone else. Everyone else rarely delivers a compelling story, much less connects the dots to show how that helps the hiring manager enough to hire you and throw out all the rest of the competition. You know, YOUR competition.

Use that Methodology Thingy and Ask 'Which Means...'

Getting to the benefit of something can usually gets done by asking "which means...." five times. You take your great story and ask yourself, "Why would that make me want to hire you?" And you answer (all to yourself while you are preparing). Then you take that answer and ask yourself, "Why would that make me want to hire you?" When you get to the fifth answer, you should have a compelling reason to hire you based on the story you tell.

Hiring Managers Don't Connect the Dots

Hiring managers are people who have a million things going on. Your interview - important as it is to you - is simply another calendar entry of something that needs doing that day. It is probably an important something that needs doing that day, but it is also just another activity to complete before getting done with the day. Great hiring managers connect the dots - but how many great hiring managers have you run into lately? If you don't connect the dots for the hiring manager, your compelling story will get remembered. But the compelling reason to hire you won't be there. I've done hiring before - lots of it. But I didn't have job candidates who told me the job skill or experience or story and then connected the dots to say "...and what that means for you is ____." I may or may not have agreed with what it meant for me, but here, at least, was a candidate who not only told the compelling story, but provided me with a potential answer to what it meant if I hired them to help me reach my goals. Can you connect the dots?
Scot Herrick is the author of I've Landed My Dream Job -Now What? and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. provides online career management training for workers who typically work in a corporate cubicle. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.