Acumen spends a great deal of time with our managerial through executive-level candidates. First and foremost, as true partners with our client companies, we need this time to ascertain the candidate’s ideal position, cultural and core value alignments, and a multitude of other factors making them the one right candidate for our open opportunity. Secondly, we genuinely develop meaningful relationships with our candidates and want them to succeed. During interview coaching, one of Acumen’s most highly stressed suggestions is to never answer an interview question with a yes or no but rather, tell a story. A story that doesn’t talk about what the candidate may have done in the past but instead helps the hiring manager envision how the candidate can be additive and help with specific challenges facing the organization.
Recently, I attended a Link event at which Mr. Larry Shoop was giving a presentation titled “The Science and Power of Story.” I knew I had to attend on the title alone given the potential significance to one of Acumen’s core tenets and I am so glad I did. In addition to being with a dynamic and fun group of ladies and hearing an amazing presentation, I learned a statistic I was previously unaware of. A statistic that gave the team here at Acumen further conviction in our approach. I learned behavioral science shows a staggering 95% of all decisions are first made emotionally while rationalization and reasoning follow later. As human beings we are wired to learn through stories, we are going to remember the stories which trigger an emotional response and those emotions are going to color our decisions. I also learned the average attention span is now just 5 minutes; not a lot of time to leave a memorable impression and further underlining the importance of making an emotional connection with your audience. Apparently, this is all simply science and the Acumen team couldn’t agree more!
As a recruiter I conduct a lot of interviews and my most insightful interviews occur when the candidate opens up and starts sharing applicable stories. I am able to develop an essential rapport through shared stories. I get to see what is really behind that nervousness as the candidate relaxes and I often gain valuable information I wouldn’t have otherwise received. The content, structure and even subject matter of candidate stories help us to better understand their motivators, core values, personalities and much more. With over 12 years of success following our proven process, it was exciting to hear about the science behind why it works!