How to Create Helpful Interview Stories

What makes the best interview stories? The ones you are most proud of. The ones that show why you are excited to work for the company. The ones that best sell you for the work you will be doing.


When you deliver these types of stories there is a warmth to the delivery. The interviewer can hear the excitement in your voice. There will inevitably be a smile on your face. You will feel confident that you are the best candidate for their role. Honestly, when I’ve participated in hiring interviews, these are the moments during the interview that make it straightforward for a hiring committee. When the candidate is genuinely interested and has clear evidence of why they are a great fit for the role, it’s easy to have a unanimous decision when it comes to picking the top candidate.

Here is an activity to help you generate 7 – 10 helpful interview stories.

Brainstorm 7+ moments you are proud of. Here are some academic prompts to get you started. However, you can also generate these stories from work, volunteer or extra-curricular experiences.

Spend some time with this. Please don’t give up after you jot down 2 – 3 ideas. I find the best stories come after you dig a little deeper. Go easy on yourself, you don’t need to have created the vaccine for Covid-19, all you need is to have felt proud of yourself, even in the tiniest of moments.

Once you’ve brainstormed your proud moment stories, here are some questions to reflect on for each experience.

  • What were you doing?
  • How were you doing it?
  • What was the outcome?
  • How did this experience make you feel?
  • Why does this story matter to you?

After you’ve answered these questions, underline any feeling words and circle any verbs. *Pro tip - You can use these words in cover letters and resumes to authentically sell your brand. In the interview context, circling the verbs will allow you to clearly see what skills you can highlight from the story. For example, teamwork, communication or problem solving.

If you are feeling brave and want to stretch your comfort zone, share these stories with a trusted friend or family member. Sharing the stories with others will help you practice out loud for when you do get called for an interview.

What happens after you complete 7 – 10 pride stories? With the clients I’ve worked with, they are on a high of positive energy. They feel more confident. They have better understanding of what they are interested in. They are excited to move forward with their careers.

Jana McDonald, Career Advisor