Selling Yourself Using Stories Part 2 | No BS Job Search Advice Radio

EP 2162 We all know the importance of telling stories during interviews but KurianTharakan takes it up another notch in this interview. His book is “The 7 Essential Stories Charismatic Leaders Tell”

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This is about inspiration, more than anything. Could you tell us another story, please! Without the milk and cookies, please, we're not going to bed yet. But still, another example of a story that can get pulled into an interview scenario.

Another story of an interview scenario what I find is that when I conduct interviews, everybody's got the wind story and how they rescued the project and this and that, and everything else and it becomes a little rote. After a while, we always expect somebody to be the superhero. Of course, we know not everybody is a superhero. Now, you got to be a little careful with this. But I would also like to hear about things that you tried, that didn't quite work out the way you want to do. But the lesson you learned from it. What was the lesson that you learned from it? So, let me see if I can think of something from my time. If I were to go back to when I was a very young, it was in my 19, 20�s interviews, I just didn't know better. I had started a little company. It was my company. I was the president of the company. I was also the sole employee of the company. I had a little computer consulting business. Now, way back when 1985, 86, something like that, I remember going and interviewing for a job at a computer store. This is a time when you were buying $20,000 computers for with 640 kilobytes, powerful, perfect, a hard drive with 20 megabytes of storage. You can make lots of money on those things as well. So, I'm 20, 22 years old, and have this company. I'm the president, and legitimately, that's all true. The interviewer that I had is old salt sales guy and I asked him how did you get into this business, and he told me a lot. So, we were in the right place, I really wanted to get into this side of the business and he asked me a question about my resume. So, he said Kurian, I see you are president of your company.

Okay, so tell me what a president does in your business, and all I can do is, ah, because the everything I do is actually the stuff that an sole employee would, what does your job be all about? What is installing software, troubleshooting, the connections, that kind of stuff? It was the first time I realized that I have to be not only factually correct, but I have to be in a way I have to be, the actual insights that people want from it in the sense of president which means something more than sole employee. So, I can say that if I want to, but is it really true? So, that was an example of something that I never did again. I was completely upfront on those resumes at that point, president, and I would put down and sole employee and then people praised me on my entrepreneurial skills, then at that point, it led the conversation in different directions.

For job hunter, one of the things is demonstrators. In your case, there was a TV character, way back, and his thing is, when he was confronted, he would go homina, homina, homina.

Yeah, right. I remember that.

Yeah. I didn't know. So, I didn't want to bring up names. So you had your homina moment?

Absolutely! It caught me unaware and I am glad I had that lesson.

Thus, there's a way to tell that story. I'm trying to illustrate it in my manner here. Because what I did was I slowed down and spaced my statements a little bit more, because it suggests sincerity. Again, part of the theatre, we will factually tell the same story. But the acting job that I do is designed to convey, I learned something here, and the paused in force the message.

I'm paying rapt attention to you just by the way you are pacing and the intonation and the way you were cocking your head at that point a direct, it implies I need to pay attention. No, we're all about acting business, and I want you to be a sincere actor, and absolutely sincere actor, but I want to use it as a tool to convey the real message that you want to put forth.

What makes actors great is they convince us that they're the character, and our association of sincerity that we forget that, that's an actor on stage; we start to think of them as a character. At the end, we walkout, we talk about a great acting job, or they were terrible, whatever it is. But in an interview, it's much the same thing. We get the message across to the audience in a way that they're able to receive it, and take it in the way that you want them to take it. So, it's not just the lines, it's the performance, you're on stage, you've got a costume on, and the costume can be of course resumed and in person once the COVID is gone. Hopefully, it is coming to an end, at least in the United States.

In our province up here, by mid-July, we she'll be out of it. We'll see what happens.

In the US, being more gracious early, and I'll just simply say, as you're out and about more, and you have to be costumed appropriately for the performance and it has to be congruent with the image of someone they want to see in that role.

Yeah, in fact, that's the key word there, congruence! It not only has to be congruent with the stories that you tell the way you position those stories, them tell those stories. It has to be congruent not only with the expectations of your employer, prospective employer. It almost has to be congruent with your true self. You have to be authentic to yourself, because if you're not authentic, it is going to be abundantly evident very quickly that they are not the guy that you that was acting in front of me. But when you are using those skills of acting skills to convey your true essence, then that is when that congruence can all take place. I'm an always on guy, I have reasonably high energy, I like engaging people and such and right now, if you don't like that, we're probably not going to get along. But if you do like that, we're going to get along famously. So, you have to bring this out in a way that it's like branding. Brands have to attract and repel, at the same time, repel your worst clients, attract your best, repel your worst employers, attract your best employers. So, this entire thing about branding is a personal brand that you are putting forth.

Woo, which leads us to the personal brand, personal branding. So, let's tie that in with the idea of being more than your resume. How can an individual become more than their resume? Evoke their branding, in the course of the interview through stories and other means. I know that's a big question. Take any part of it that you like.

Sure, well, the interview is like the sales pitch. So, if you're selling a product, let alone selling yourself, it's like the sales pitch. What I say to people is that a Boeing 747, in an ideal scenario, the bigger ones needs two miles of runway in an ideal scenario, to get off the ground safely. Sometimes they can do it in a mile. What is amply self-evident is that they can't do it in 300 feet, that is very dangerous and no one is stupid enough to try it. But sales people try and do that every single day they go into the pitch. Well, why would you do that in the interview, you've gone to the actual interview and that's it. It's one shot 30 minutes for that first interview, you have so much more one way that you can build in the preamble. It's all a technique called priming, salespeople use it quite often, if they're smart, they will give those prospects all sorts of ways to experience the product, before company and themselves, before they actually get into the pitch.

That can be everything from the YouTube to the website, to whatever it is, your resume is the thinnest and most narrow example of who you really are as a person. So, anything that you can do to broaden that experience all of yourself prior to that interview is something that you should take yourself up on. In the last, I've had more than one job over the last 30 years, but I've only had a couple of interviews, because most people know me for my public presence, whether it be through my LinkedIn profiles, through my posts on my website, I'm a very active person out there. People not only know me for my expertise, they know me for my personality, and those are two different things. But when you combine those together, that's what creates someone that can lead a project that can lead people that can get things done, and both those things are important, give people an opportunity to experience that well before the interview.

Most this goes back to one of my concepts, which is the idea of being able to cut the line and get to the front because you have mindshare with people. If you're just another fish in the ocean, and they're throwing in hooks, and all the fish are trying to jump on to the one and only one fish gets off the hook.

That HR department door is a very crowded door and it's a very crowded long, lineup there and some of my most successful hires have come in through our side doors. We've hired people, they've engaged with our company well before we were hiring, and they've attended our meetups, and they've attended our webinars, and they are known entities in our Facebook groups and such right, and we get an impression of them, whether they know what they're talking about what kind of personality they are and they become a candidate of choice. So, when you're looking at Bob, 20 times before and all these things, Nancy, who has been an active participant in your groups and you compare it with your stack of resumes that you got through indeed, or whatever, it's no comparison, these personalities come alive, whereas everybody else is just a part of a stack of paper.

Or digital paper!

I am updating myself, digital paper.

Yeah, it's funny. There are some great stories about nightclubs and you used the example the side door, most people try the front door, and they're rejected by the bouncer. Some people try the back door, which is getting referred by someone the side door that no one uses. They rarely do things to handle the side door to create that mind share with people.

Yeah, exactly right! The mindshare you want to create is not with the HR department, that's not the manager you're under. You want to create the mindshare with the people that you are going to be working with. Now from the boss to your colleagues to everybody else, that is something that you will create in relationship capital. Well, before you ever have to go through any kind of formal process, if you do through the HR department.

In this part of our conversation, you reminded me of how Steven Spielberg became a director. He just showed up, didn't know he was on a tour, he wore a suit, he carried a briefcase and on one point, he jumped off the tour bus. He walked into one of the facilities there and started working. He did this for a couple of weeks. One day he was discovered. He showed someone what he had done during that time. The movie is called Amblin', which is the name of his entertainment and the movie is on YouTube. It's not great, but for that time period, and for high school kid, it's phenomenal. But folks to think creatively about your stories, we have a shorthand between us, between Eric and I.

But as soon as I mentioned a couple of these stories, he knew them right away, unless we have an emotional connection with one another. I mentioned the Spielberg story. I mentioned the side door story. He's got it right away. We don't have to say much beyond that because I saw his nodding of the head. He got it, there was a twinkle that came onto his into his eyes, and you can create the same thing to in your conversations with folks. That's it; this has been a lot of fun. What haven't we covered yet that we really should in this conversation?

I don't know, we've covered a lot. So, I think ultimately what it comes down from the perspective of a job search candidate, you have to be commoditizing yourself. That's what you've got to do. It's all about D commoditization, which the opposite is personal branding, having a clear and size personal brand. The path between those two things is about the stories that you tell. Because the people you're dealing with are just humans, humans can only relate to the world through the stories they receive, and the stories they tell. So, give them the stories and that's how you will become significant and emotionally significant and functionally relevant to what they are doing right now.

What a great summation, that's very good. How can people find out more about you, the work you do, the book, the whole thing.

So, if you come to my website,, you're going to download a couple of chapters of the book for free, I'm going to send you some show notes and it'll include an info graphic for your show notes and such that people can download right away. Go to, look for the seven essential stories charismatic leaders tell bought, or the first five listeners that tell me they heard about the seven essential stories on your show. Jeff, I'm going to send them a Kindle copy for free. All they have to do is email me at my email address.

Fabulous! I'll have that included in the notes as well. But I won't put it in a way that's easy for the spammers.

That's good. I appreciate that.

You're welcome. Folks, we'll be back soon with more. I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. I hope you enjoyed today's show. If you're watching on YouTube, click the subscribe button, hit the like button, do something that lets people know it was worthwhile. Connect with me on LinkedIn by the way at I've got a tone more at my website. If you go to TheBigGameHunter.US, I've got 1000s of posts there that you can watch listen to or read them to help you find work more quickly. But they're not customized for you, which is really what I try to do on my coaching with people, personalize it, so that you get the results for your capabilities. It's tailored specifically for you so that you get great results. Hope you have a terrific day and most importantly, be great. Take care.


JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website,

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Another great blog post is “There are Stories and Then There Are Stories

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Selling Yourself Using Stories Part 2 | No BS Job Search Advice Radio

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