Controlling and Acing the Interview

12.07.2018 |

Episode #8 of the course How to find a dream job and get hired by Ryan Lecour


Welcome to Day 8!

The interview situation is not about “having an answer” to every question. It’s barely about the questions at all. It’s a combination of various tests. The questions serve as ways to administer the multi-faceted tests going on. The tests, in other words, go far beyond what is being asked of you in the questions themselves.


The Tests behind the Questions

Let’s consider what you are being tested on, which is over and above the test of the questions themselves:

• Can you act normal and be yourself in a somewhat high-pressure situation?

• Can you present your thoughts in a clear and concise way?

• Are there any deal-breaking red flags that can be teased out of your back story?

• How well can you respond to relatively standard questioning?

• How well can you respond when faced with something unexpected?

• How does your brain tackle and attempt to solve problems?

• What sort of attitude do you have?

• Are you a flight risk?

• How well developed are your social skills?

• How genuine is your interest in the position and the company?

• What is your present ability to get the job done, and how much would the company have to invest in you to get you up to speed?

• How legit is your representation of yourself?

Of course, the interviewers are not going to come out and word their tests like this. They have to “dance around” what they really want to know. For example, the interviewer will not come out and say, “Are you a flight risk?” Instead, they will use a series of probing questions to determine the conditions that surrounded the change that’s taken place in your recent career. It’s going to serve you to know the “question behind the questions.”


Crafting Your Narratives

Your answers to the questions and your attempt to meet the challenges of the interview are all part of a grand narrative and the sub-narratives that support it. Think of your grand narrative as the essential problem you solve or the concern you satisfy. Your sub-narratives all support this thesis and can come in the form of answers to interview questions.

Let’s consider how to craft your sub-narratives:

Test: What do you know about us and how legit is your interest?

Often comes in the form of: “Why do you want to work here? What interests you about ABC Company or the role?”

Your possible answer: Here’s how it may look:

“First of all, I think it is rare to get an opportunity with a company as well established as ABC Company. You folks are very well respected in X industry, and I think it would be an awesome challenge to uphold that. I noticed also in the Big Business Publication that you were recently ranked extremely high in X.

“I think the prospect of doing Y for ABC would be hard to match. The fact that A Requirement is so well suited to my B Skillset is a good indicator that this could be a great fit.”

What’s going on in these paragraphs?

I start off with praise, almost as if I’m stating the obvious that I should be naturally interested in their company. Then, I am sending out huge HVTs by demonstrating that I understand a little about how they are positioned in the market and what’s been recently happening with them in the news.

In the second paragraph, I am subtly making the case that this is a serendipitous match between what the company needs and the key value I have to offer.
Let’s look at another example:

Test: Are you a flight risk that will waste our resources and the investment we will put in you?

Often comes in the form of: “Where do you see yourself in five years?’

Your possible answer: Here’s how it may look:

“The five-year plan is actually really simple. In five years, I hope to be working for the same company and really thriving at what I do!”

What’s going on here?

This is a very short answer for a reason. This question is a bait and trap that is intended to reveal reasons to rule you out. That is virtually the only thing it is designed to do. The hiring manager wants to uncover red flags, hidden agendas, reasons for why you may become a problem, interests you plan on pursuing as soon as you save enough money, etc. The more you talk, the more you risk saying something that may not align with the company’s perceived plan for you. So, say your small piece and stop talking!

Tomorrow, we’ll sink our teeth into how to build your leverage and how to navigate through pre-offer negotiations.

Happy job marketeering until then,



Recommended book

101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions by Ron Fry


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