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A Successful Job Interview – there is a Formula! (31 May 2021)

3 August 2021

Categories: Career & Jobs   get a job   interview preparation   interview skills   job interview  
A Successful Job Interview – there is a Formula! (31 May 2021)

Many individuals find it difficult to answer questions ‘on the spot’ and this can make attending a job interview a nerve-wracking experience. After all, answering questions is what makes up a significant part of an interview or, like the time I went for my first government contract, where just the asking and answering of 5 questions made up the entire interview.

While most interview experiences will include some form of conversation and even a bit of rapport building at the start, which can help to make things more comfortable before launching into the questions, the questions will always be an important part of the process. After all the interviewer does have to determine who is going to fit the role best.

Make your job easier during an Interview

So, what can you do to make things a bit easier, and to help yourself become better and more comfortable answering ‘on the spot’?

The answer is simple.


Simple yes, but fun? Maybe not so much! However, it will help to practice answering lots of different questions by just trying to answer them out loud, or you can try writing ‘scripts’ and then reading them out loud multiple times. While you’ll never be able to guess every question that might be asked, creating and practicing scripts for as many generic questions as you can, will help you develop answers that could be utilised for a whole range of questions.

It is also a good idea to practice responses around the job requirements, as these will likely be included in the interview in some form.

And, to make things even easier for yourself during an interview, there is a formula that can be applied to almost every question you are asked. This formula can provide an automatic scaffold in an interview to help you answer even the most difficult or unexpected question.

The Formula

YOUR ANSWER = Generic statement + example + positive outcomes.

So, you start with a general statement in response to the question about what you do, give an example about how you normally do things or that demonstrates your experience or abilities, then link this to positive outcomes/results.

An Example

Here is an example I give in my book Now What? A step-by-step approach to land your new job or career.

If you’re asked:

“How would you describe your management style?”

Start with the generic answer, follow with the example and end with the positive result:

“In general terms, my leadership style is collaborative, I like to involve the team in decision making to help them take ownership and find our outcomes are effectively met and exceeded (GENERIC STATEMENT). For example, I lead a high performing team at the moment, we are responsible for xxx and when I took this team on I met with each person individually etc, etc… (EXAMPLE) and now we are exceeding our targets and have been able to seamlessly integrate the work required for the additional caseload.” (POSITIVE OUTCOME/RESULTS).

So, if you want to interview successfully, spend some time thinking about what types of questions you will likely be asked in the interview and script some answers, using the formula. Then practice reciting them.

Over time you will find that you not only have answers easily at hand when you need them, but you will also have the helpful formula ready to build an answer ‘on the spot’ for those unexpected questions too.