“Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.” — George S. Clason
There was a time when an inflated CV was enough to get you a job before you even entered the room. That time has passed. Today’s company leaders know better than to ignore personality, drive, personal branding, and compatibility in favour of a long list of past achievements. Interview preparation is more important than ever, and not necessarily in the way you think.
When I work with clients, I draw on my long history as a recruiter to get them ready for interviews. But my latest tool — an invaluable one — is the book “Why You”, by James Reed. James — the Chairman of REED, the best known recruitment brand in the UK — knows a thing or two about how to succeed in an interview. And with that deep wealth of knowledge he created essential reading for anyone facing an interview in their future with 101 questions any interviewee should be prepared for.
Your interview is tomorrow and you don’t have time to read the whole list? Lucky for you he condensed it down to the “Fateful Fifteen” — the top 15 questions every single person heading for an interview should be prepared to answer. Read them now, even if you don’t have an interview on the horizon, because chances are one day you will and, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I decided to sit down with the author himself and scratch behind the surface of the book that is now mandatory reading for my clients.
Yvette: Where did the inspiration to write this book come from?
James: I honestly wanted to help people succeed at interviews. We, of all people, should be able to do that! The idea actually came to me on holiday… I decided to crowd-source and ask our thousands of clients what their favourite interview questions were. We took the most commonly asked and most interesting questions and put them into the book.
Yvette: In your book you talk about the Fateful 15. Why did you decide those questions were the most important?
James: The Fateful 15 are, without a doubt, the most commonly asked questions. In fact, I talked to a friend just the other day who went for an interview and she was asked every one of them. She told me today that she had been invited back for a second interview. These are real questions being asked by real interviewers right now, so they couldn’t be more relevant. All the other questions in the book are basically a variant of these 15. For example, question number 81 is a variant of question number 11.
Yvette: What are your top three tips for people going to an interview?
- Why do you think this job is right for you? It’s as much about you finding the job that is right for you as the company finding the right employee. Our key message is ‘Love Mondays’, because we truly believe people should love the job they are doing.
- Make sure you put in the time to prepare.
- Be authentic. No one else can do you better than you can, so present the true version of yourself.
Yvette: In your opinion, how quickly does an interviewer make their mind up on an interviewee once they’ve walked in the room?
James: It’s human nature for an interviewer to have a first impression, so the little things like presentation, being on time etc. do count. A good interviewer will question that first impression throughout the next hour or so! So it’s equally important to finish well. That’s why we dedicated a chapter to ‘your parting shot’!
Yvette: I know you are a big advocate of executive coaching. In addition to reading your book, why do you think coaching is so important to help people get ready for interviews?
James: Top sports people have coaches, so why shouldn’t business people have them? We should all be trying to improve our knowledge, our approach, and our performance. I’ve used coaching myself and have found it incredibly valuable.
To find out more about how professional business coaching can help you and your organisation please contact me on the below: