George Bradt, writing in Forbes magazine, says that top executive recruiters agree that there are just 3 true job interview questions:
1. Can you do the job?
2. Will you love the job?
3. Can we tolerate working with you?
“That’s it,” says Bradt. “Those three. Think back, every question you’ve ever had asked of you in a job interview is a subset of a deeper in-depth follow-up to one of these three key questions. Each question potentially may be asked using different words, but every question, however it is phrased, is just a variation on one of these topics: Strengths, Motivation, and Fit.”
- Can you do the job? is all about Strengths – both technical and interpersonal skills. Do you have the skills required and can you work well with and even inspire others?
- Will you love the job? is about Motivation. Bradt quotes Cornerstone International Group CEO, Bill Guy, who emphasizes the changing nature of motivation, “employees do not wish to get paid merely for working hard—just the reverse: they will work hard because they enjoy their environment and the challenges associated with their work.”
- Can we tolerate working with you? is about Fit. Bradt quotes an interview with Executive Search firm Heidrick & Struggles CEO, Kevin Kelly who explained the importance of cultural fit: “40 percent of senior executives leave organizations or are fired or pushed out within 18 months. It’s not because they’re dumb; it’s because a lot of times culturally they may not fit in with the organization or it’s not clearly articulated to them as they joined.”
Bradt says, “if you’re the one being interviewed, prepare by thinking through examples that illustrate your strengths, what motivates you about the organization and role you’re interviewing for, and the fit between your own preferences and the organization’s Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, and Environment (BRAVE).
But remember that interviews are exercises in solution selling. They are not about you.
“Think of the interview process as a chance for you to show your ability to solve the organization and interviewer’s problem. That’s why you need to highlight strengths in the areas most important to the interviewers, talk about how you would be motivated by the role’s challenges, and discuss why you would be a BRAVE fit with the organization’s culture.”