Communication 598: Storytelling in Interaction

Communication 598: Storytelling in Interaction.

Need help with my Communications question – I’m studying for my class.


In class, we have discussed in a number of ways the connection between storytelling and identity in interaction, including the idea that our own identity is a fluid construct that can be projected, molded, and adapted to fit a range of contexts. For this assignment you are asked to consider, and prepare for, a very important, real world context that you have likely already experienced, and will continue to experience throughout your adult lives: the job interview.

The job interview is an interactional situation in which a job candidate is asked questions to determine her or his suitability for a particular job. As an interactional context, it is interesting to us in this class because it is a rich environment for storytelling. Indeed, there is a particular type of job interview (although all job interviews do this to some extent) that seeks to motivate candidates to tell stories. This type of interview is called the “behavioral interview”. Employers ask candidates questions to determine how they behaved in certain sorts of past situations as a way to assess their personal qualities and job-relevant skills, as well as to determine how they might behave in similar situations in the future.

For this assignment, you will do some work to prepare yourself for a job interview, including preparing job interview stories; locating a job/internship ad that interest you; and participating in a practice interviewing session in class for this job.

What to do

  • Search job/internship ads in a career area that interests you. Choose one job/internship that interested you. Copy and paste the link to the job, along with a brief description (e.g., job title, location, qualifications), into a single document. This is the job that you will be “applying” for.
  • Prepare four different stories that could be used to answer various interview questions (example interview questions can be found on Canvas). Think about your work/school/life experiences that represent positive aspects of your personality, work ethic, problem solving abilities, creativity, leadership qualities, and so on and incorporate these into your stories. It is not so important that you prepare a story for a specific question (but use the interview questions in the module to guide you), but that you construct stories that you are able to adapt to whatever question an interviewer asks you. Write out your stories (not more than half a page each), including a list of positive qualities that you think each story conveys about you (there can be overlap, meaning that you may have different stories that convey the same quality/ies). Copy and paste this into the same document that has the link to the job and the job description.
  • Read the articles that have been assigned regarding preparing for a job interview. You are also encouraged to spend some time on your own finding and making use of career development resources.
  • On the practice interview day, you will come up to the front of the class and you will be asked which “job” you are applying for. Then, I, as the “interviewer”, will ask you a few interview questions. Your goal will be to use your stories in a way that conveys that you would be an excellent candidate for the job.
  • Upload to Canvas 1) job ad, and 2) stories + positive qualities in a single documen

Here are a couple of examples of how you can use a story to answer an interview question:

Example 1

Interviewer: Could you tell me about a time in which you handled a difficult work situation?

Candidate: Yes, once when I worked as a swimming coach, I had a parent who…..(story continues).

Example 2

Interviewer: It says on your resume that you are creative. What does that mean?

Candidate: Well, one way that I’m creative is that I like to find creative ways to solve problems. When I was the treasurer for lamda pi eta, the national communication honors program, we wanted to give our members experience using their communication skills that they could put on their resumes at the same time that we wanted to do volunteer work for our community. So I came up with the idea to … (story continues)

Career Development Resources

What to do with a major in Communication (Links to an external site.)

What is the Behavioral Job Interview? (Links to an external site.)

Typical Interview Questions for New College Grads

See pdf document in module.

Communication 598: Storytelling in Interaction

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