Interview philosophy

Here’s a basic outline of my interview philosophy. With a bit of practice, you can use this pretty simple philosophy to answer most interview questions. The only ones you won’t be able to answer are personality type questions, trick questions, and some skill or job specific questions.

Anyhow, the magic formula will allow you to answer most interview questions. The key is to come to the interview prepared. Here’s how.

Identify the employer’s pain points. Pain points are problems they need to overcome. What are their needs? For example if you’re applying for a job at the front desk of a hotel, what does the employer need?

Well they need someone who is friendly and sociable so that guests get a good first impression of the hotel. They need someone who is good at handling complaints and solving problems so that customers don’t get more upset when they’re unhappy with the room for whatever reason. And so on. You do your research and identify what problems the company needs the employee (you) to solve.

Then you prepare some messages about how you can help them overcome these pain points. So one message might be that your cheerful, friendly personality puts people at ease. You should have some examples / proof ready and you should be demonstrating your winning personality during the interview.

Then you would have a message about your problem solving skills and how you’re adept at making unsatisfied customers happier. Again you need examples of having helped an unhappy customer – some sort of proof that shows you can do what you’re saying you can do.

Remember the golden rule is how you’re going to help the employer – every message should be about that. The other rules are to keep your messages simple (and say it simply during the interview) and to strengthen your messages with examples and other proof.

And that’s the philosophy. Walk into the interview with prepared messages and then apply them to every possible interview question. For example with that hotel job:

How would you describe your personality? or How do your friends describe your personality?

I’m cheerful. People tend to enjoy spending time with me because I’m friendly and I smile a lot. When I worked in the super market deli, I saw other deli clerks treat the customers as if each one was a hassle that needed to be dealt with. I was equally quick getting orders ready but when I asked the customer ‘what can I get for you?’ I smiled. I use the same tone of voice I use with my friends. I can do the same thing for you. Even when there’s a long line of people waiting to be checked in, I can work quickly while still making each person I talk with smile.

Having these prepared messages, means you don’t have to memorize questions and answers. And employers don’t like memorized answers so that’s a good thing. But you do have to practice picking the right message for each question you get.