I’ve interviewed a lot of candidates over the last 20 years. Candidates experience has varied from straight out of college or university to experienced individuals.
And no matter what level of experience they have, there is a common theme that appears. Answers to interview questions lack depth.
Purpose of an Interview
The purpose of interview is for one individual (the interviewer) to get to know another (the candidate) better.
They want to find out if the candidate sat across the table is right for the role and their organization. Do they have what it takes to contribute and add value for that organization?
You have to remember that an interviewer has a problem. They have a vacancy to fill. They hope that you as the candidate will be the solution.
The most popular way to find out if a candidate is right for a role, is to ask questions. To:
- Gather information
- Understand their experience
- Understand their skills and knowledge
- To get to the real person
Most interviewers use the same or similar types of questions (21 Most Common Interview Questions). So it shouldn’t be too difficult for a candidate to come prepared with answers. Unfortunately, most don’t and often the answers provided lack depth.
These answers are far too generic. There is no substance to them. There is a lack of information given to back up the answer.
This relies on the interviewer digging deeper. They will
- Question again
- Rephrase the question, or
- Ask something different
in the hope that they’ll get the answer that they are seeking. If that happens to you, you’ve not answered their question.
Don’t be one of them. Create depth to your answers.
Rule of 3
How can you do that?
You can apply the ‘Rule of 3’. You can use and apply it for each of the questions (21 Most Common Interview Questions).
For each of the questions, think of a least of 3 examples. Most interviewers will not want more than 3 examples. They’ll then move onto the next question.
The Rule of 3 is a minimum. More than 3 is great too. It’s always worth having more examples to back up your answers. Here’s how to apply the Rule of 3:
Question: What are your strengths?
- List at least 3 of strengths
- List 3 examples, for each of the 3 strengths, to back it up
Question: What are your weaknesses?
- List at least 3 of weaknesses
- List 3 examples, for each of the 3 weaknesses, to back it up
- What 3 things are you doing to manage those weaknesses?
Question: What motivates you?
- What are 3 of your motivators?
- List 3 reasons why, for each motivator, to back it
Question: Tell me about a time when things didn’t go well
- List 3 examples
- List 3 reasons why they didn’t got so well
- List 3 that you’d do it differently next time
You can apply the Rule of 3 to all the common interview questions.
Having depth to your answers will help you come across as a much more rounded individual.
You will show that you know yourself and have come prepared.