Flip The Script - Take Control of Your Interview (PUBLISHED)

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Anatomy of a Good Interview Question

Good Interview Questions Have 2 Characteristics
Good outcomes
Bad outcomes


GOOD QUESTIONS Create a safe space for you to Tell or Show your capabilities
BAD questions repel candidate creativity, confidence and interest.
GOOD QUESTIONS Prompt us for Specific Examples Give us to chance to Demonstrate/ Audition
Closed, prompted, Yes or No (answer which gives no evidence of ability) Canned answers (such as candidate weaknesses that are really strengths) Generalities (they know excel so they can do data) Opinion (In my humble opinion, this person seems like a jerk) Gut feel (this person seems like a good culture fit...huh?) Brain Teaser (gets evidence that is not relevant to the work) Introduced Bias (what’s your favorite book, can you work on the weekends, where did you grow up) Illegal (do you have kids, what is your current compensation)


Leave us with a Positive Impression
Leave a Negative Impression
Smart group of people
These people don’t get it
Work sounds challenging/interesting
I wouldn’t learn much here
Motivational Alignment
The questions seemed irrelevant to the work I’d be doing

Interviewer Behavior

A Good Interviewer creates space for you to tell/show/audition and get insights about the work and team
Skillfully frames interview questions, without projecting their answers to us
Gives the candidate time to think; Stays quiet after they ask for examples
Ignores their instinct to “rescue” candidates right away
Interrupts gently to steer when candidate gets off track, use their name and restates the question
Mentally present and attentive: Sets their pen down / stops typing net: does not create opportunities for you to tell/show/audition nor insights about the work and team

Bad Interviewer makes us struggle or wonder how we are doing
May not understand the problem to be solved or haven’t deeply thought about it; doesn’t read your resume or map your skills to the JD; may not have been briefed about your candidacy or given an assignment for their role on the interview loop.
Asks leading questions that projects the answer they want to hear (”so, you figured that out on your own, right?”)
Tries to upstage the candidate or make it impossible for the candidate to win/be right.
Creates a mysterious or adversarial climate under the guise of “stress testing” the candidate.
Uncontrolled body language such as incessant head nodding (feels positive), or arms crossed (feels negative).
Overly interruptive comments/ticks such as “uh huh”, “ok”, “right”, etc. (feels positive but can derail candidate’s train of thought).
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4 Categories of Evidence that Predict Candidate Success
In other words...
What a good interviewer is trying to learn about a candidate
(S) Skills & Knowledge
WHAT a candidate knows
Coding Ability, Methodologies and Frameworks, Sales Training, Demand Gen, Accounting, etc.
Degree, field of study, certifications (not pedigree, but learned skills, knowledge)
Can they deliver on 30/60/90-day milestones for the job?
What else will they need to learn to succeed beyond first 3-12 months?
Can we train the gaps?
(A) Attributes & Values
HOW a candidate gets work done
Dives Deep
Works to Failure
Customer Obsessed
Humble Learner
Toe Stepper
Win at All Costs
Is their approach consistent with the company’s high performer attributes / values?
How do they overcome adversity?
(A) Achievements & Trajectory
CONTEXT What did they achieve relative to where they started?
Built, Scaled, Led, Fixed
Distance traveled
Did they do great work under difficult circumstances?
Have they proven they can deliver results (relevant accomplishments) at the level we expect for this role?
Can they repeat here under our circumstances?

(M) Motivational Alignment
WHY they want to do this work with us
Loves the customer problem set
Loves the functional challenges
Do they really want to solve problems for our kinds of customers?
Are they intentionally running towards our job?
Or are they primarily running away from their current situation?
What tradeoffs will they need to make to work here?
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