One Question

If there was one question you wished an interviewer / hiring manager would ask you, what question would that be?

For me, it would be either:

  • Tell me about a time you failed, and what you learned as a result?
  • What makes you uniquely suited for this role?
They aren't particularly exciting questions, they're not off-the-wall but they are great questions for 2 reasons: 1) They are about me and 2) They are relevant in the context of an interview.

Interestingly, those two questions don't often come up in an interview. At least, they aren't asked directly.

I stopped waiting for the question and instead focused on how I can work my responses into the conversation more naturally. 

Interviews are all about leaving a lasting impression - a sense of what is uniquely you. You want them to be able to easily pick you out of the lineup instead of scratching their heads asking "Who was this person again? Was this the person we interviewed on Thursday? Or were they on Wednesday?"

While it helps to have a name, like Alishah, that will stand out - it also helps when you lean into things that will distinguish you from the rest.

Whenever I've given advice to someone before an interview, my main questions are: What is your unique hook? What is your tagline? If the interviewer walks away, what is the thing you want them to remember about you? 

When you know what the answer is, the interview becomes incredibly fluid. It's the difference between debating a topic on which you're uninformed vs debating one where you put in the work. Except in this case, you're talking about you. The only "work" you have to do is consider what your unique value is. 

When you're passionate about a topic, you can easily work it into just about any conversation. The more you know about a subject matter, the easier it is to make connections. The weather, sports - whatever - all become an excuse to just talk about your passions.

The same principle applies in an interview - and, above all else, you should be passionate about yourself and that which distinguishes you from others.

Knowing your 2 or 3 distinct value propositions gives you a response to any question because now every question is a way to reinforce the value prop. As a result, interviews become less stilted Q&As and become a lot more conversational. 

Instead of the waiting for that one question to be asked, answer it over the course of the entire conversation.


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