I’m going to focus this post on motivational interview questions. These are the ones that are all about you, your experience, and your selling points. Why do you want to join this company? Why are you the best candidate to hire? Why did you do the degree that you did? What gets you excited?
Yes, those ones. The ones that most often cause mind blanks, word vomit, and an overuse of buzzwords that you didn’t even know you were aware of before they came gushing out.
If you’re ready to learn how to conquer the motivational section of the interview, I have created a foolproof, 3-step method to do it and I’m going to share it with you.
Let’s get you ready to deliver compelling answers to these tough interview questions!
Step 1: The Opening Line
Think of this section as your thesis. In a thesis, you need to concisely outline what you’re going to talk about for the rest of the essay. To do this, narrow down 3 key points and state them as succinctly as you can. Why 3? Because it is proven that the human brain remembers ideas better when they’re presented in 3s. The easier you are to remember, the more likely it is that the interviewer will keep you in mind when making a final decision.
For example, a question that could be asked is: Why are you the best candidate for this position?
And here’s a short and sweet opening line that makes a great impression:
“I take initiative, I am a good communicator, and I am very analytical.”
That’s it! Easy, right? Right! Moving along.
Step 2: The Proof
After a thesis, a compelling essay transitions into body paragraphs. This part is used to back up what was said in the introduction and prove the author’s point.
The concept is the same in interviewing. After you’ve stated your thesis, it’s time to back it up with facts, results, and reasons. Think about it like this: how can I prove what I said in my opening line? What will make the interviewer believe that I am who I say I am?
Here’s a great way to provide effective proof that will make the interviewer confident that the candidate is able to back up what they said above in the opening line example:
“In my former position at Coca-Cola, I took the initiative to consolidate the packaging in Western Canada because I saw flaws in the old strategy. This created a more modern brand strategy that ultimately increased revenues by 5% in 1 fiscal year. My communication skills were honed in both of my past positions at Coca-Cola and Cadbury because my roles involved significant collaboration with different departments. I have also had rich experience preparing and delivering reports to Senior Management teams. I have leveraged my analytical abilities in both of my past positions by implementing and analyzing numerous sustainable financial models. Many of my models are still in use today because they improved the overall efficiency of operations. At Coca-Cola specifically, I conducted market research in order to get a better sense of brand awareness and to better evaluate the pros and cons of an important initiative, the result of which was cost savings of over $1.1 million annually.”
Whew, that was a mouthful! But it’s also clear, concise, and compelling. It makes me believe that this candidate does take initiative, is a good communicator, and has exceptional analytical abilities.
Step 3: The Conclusion
Just like in a standard conclusion, you should restate your thesis. This is very effective in getting your message across to the interviewer. But, here’s what I want you to remember: indicate that you want the job. It seems fundamental, but it’s something that many people skip over. They talk about their achievements and their experience, but they forget to wrap back around to the key point: they want this job, and they think they’d be good at it, too!
Here’s what a great conclusion would look like:
“So, to conclude, I believe that I have excellent communication skills, I am keen to take initiative, and I possess the analytical ability I need to make informed decisions for the benefit of a company. I am ready and eager to apply myself to succeeding in this role!”
Some Final Tips
Typing this all out is one thing, but I know that saying it in an interview while you’re under pressure is a whole other ballgame. That being said, with the right preparation and mindset, you’ll be able to rattle off an all-star answer without breaking a sweat! Here are some extra tips to think about:
- Ask for clarification. If you aren’t clear on a question, don’t try and answer it anyway. It’s perfectly fine to ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
- Be prepared, but not overly rehearsed. You shouldn’t memorize your answers word-for-word because that can cause you to trip up and get caught off guard. Instead, brainstorm your top 3 selling points with proof and repeat them throughout the interview. It may sound repetitive to you, but this is how you can convey a clear personal brand to the interviewer!
- If you didn’t get a chance to say something relevant, say it anyway. At the end of the interview, don’t be afraid to say: “I actually didn’t get the chance to outline more about my background in ____.” And then outline whatever it was. But, do it concisely! Don’t worry about giving them all the details, just provide enough so that they know that you’ll be an asset to their company.
Still have some questions about delivering impressive interviews? You’re in luck! I’m hosting a workshop specifically on interviews this Saturday, November 2nd! Spots are filling up quickly – click here to take advantage of early bird pricing.