Storytelling for Interviews Part 2 of 2

This blog is part 2 of the Storytelling for Interviews blog series. We recommend that you read  Storytelling for Interviews Part 1 of 2 before reading this blog.

So far, we have covered the questions that you should prepare for your interview, the types of questions and which broader categories they belong to. In this blog, we will cover HOW TO ANSWER those questions.

There are certain questions which have set, defined answers.

For example; Where were you born? Who do you think is the founder of our company? What is the name of our recently launched product?

These questions have an answer which is defined and our storytelling techniques don’t apply to these types of questions.

However, most interview questions are not like these. They are questions whose answers will show your thinking, problem solving, etc, skill.

For these, there is a simple method to answer any questions that you are asked. Let’s try and break the answering techniques into 4 simple steps.

Let’s say you are asked a question: What is your view on the future of our industry?

Storytelling for Interviews

Buy time to structure your thoughts using one of three ways


1.1 Comment on the question itself 

I can see why this is probably one of the most important questions you can ask

It’s a question that is very relevant given the current rate of change in the industry……
Based on my experiences, my view on the future of the industry is ……

What you must never say is: That is a good question. This is an overused phrase and will work against you.

1.2 Ask for clarity 

If you are unsure about the question, ask for further clarity, like,

Future of the industry globally, regionally or locally? I believe our industry holds different futures in different geographies.

The future of our industry is very product dependent. Would you mind sharing which particular product you would like me to dive deep into?

Or it can be as simple as, I am not sure if I understand the question, would you please rephrase that for me? One of my favourite examples of this technique is what I saw on Miss Universe 1994 when Ms Charlene Gonzalez from Philippines was asked a question on the number of Islands in Philippines.

You can watch the video of Charlene Gonzalez here.

I often find myself using this technique because this gives me more control on how I can answer this question and what will make the most sense to the audience.

To be able to comment on the future of the industry, an understanding of the present is vital……
The future of the industry is only as good as the innovations that happen in the next few years……
The future of the industry is unknown and dependant on many other developments. However, forward thinking in certain areas can give us a good insight into the future…..

Storytelling for Interviews

Think of the 3 points that you would like to talk about in your reply

Eg, The future of the industry is dependant on

Product Innovation
Skills Development
Price Point

Storytelling for Interviews

Elaborate a little (I mean literally little) on 3 points 

Product Innovation: Consumers will demand more web-based products because that is just how the entire business is moving forward.
Skill development: Our industry’s workforce is hired on their years of experience which I think is limiting innovation, creativity and our ability to think digital first.
Price Point: With so many start-ups in our industry whose simple method of success is – a great product made cheaper, we will need to manage our price point with care.

Storytelling for Interviews

Pick the point you feel is most comfortable out of the 3 and elaborate on it with a story

This is the only place where storytelling happens and this probably is the most engaging part of your answer. Say, you picked price point as the point you want to elaborate upon.

Let me tell share an experience. 

“2 weeks ago I was at a conference of innovators where people develop new products and sell them to investors.
At one stage, a young 23-year old boy named John came up and said, “How many of you have always wanted to work with Tableau? It is a great product with an amazing ability to analyse your excel data in a few secs. So, imagine sitting in front of your computer looking at your sales report and then at a click be able to tell which product is selling most, who is buying and why are they buying. Now, you can make the informed decision of marketing that product more to a targeted customer and your sales go through the roof… BUT, there is a problem with Tableau and that is – the cost is overwhelming.

Now imagine if you can get all that for $9 per month…. Would you even once think about investing? That is what I have for you.”

After I had listened to John, I wondered how would Tableau be able to compete in this market if they don’t price themselves at a point where they are value for money and consumers still see a reason to buy them versus some new start-up that sells the same solution for 1/10th of the price.

This brings us to the end of Storytelling for Interviews

You can get an infographic of this blog here

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