Score the Perfect Job Interview in 5 Steps

perfect interview in 5 stepsCongratulations – you’ve made it to the job interview! Now what?

Here’s a little-known secret to job interviews: 

By controlling the job interview process, you’ll have a much higher chance of securing the job – and career – you want .

First, remind yourself that the company invited you for a reason, otherwise they wouldn’t bother wasting their time. So walk in with the confidence of knowing they already like your experience. Because it’s not your skills but your attitude that determines the success of your interview.

Yes, you qualify. But do they?

Next, don’t wait until they start asking you questions! Instead, learn how to take control of the interview. How do you do that? It starts the moment you introduce yourself and say, “Hello”.

Step 1: Take control of the interview process by asking questions first

The first 15 minutes of your interview will decide whether you succeed or fail. So it’s important to learn as much about the company and what your future employer wants, right from the start.

The moment you shake hands you should start by asking them:

  • How long have you been here?
  • What do you like about the company?
  • What’s the culture like here?
  • Why is this position open?
  • What are you looking for?
  • What are the best qualities you’re looking for in a candidate?

If those questions sound like the kind of questions the interviewer might ask you, that’s because they are.

Step 2: Feed the answers back to them

By now, you will have learned what they want BEFORE they had the chance to ask you the usual questions like “so, tell me about yourself“.

But if they still do that, answer with something like “what aspect of me would you like to know more of?” Keep your answers no longer than 30 seconds. No need to bore the interviewer or shoot yourself in the foot with unnecessary or potentially damaging information.

Then, when the interviewer does start to formally interview you, this is your opportunity to use the same sound bites they used in describing their perfect candidate to you (hint: because they already told you).

Step 3: Create deeper rapport

Beyond the position, it’s your job to develop a deeper rapport and make sure there’s a good fit for you as well as for them.


Interviewer: “it’s important to me that the candidate is resourceful, proactive and independent so that I don’t have to hold his hand all the time.”

You: “I totally see what you mean. It’s really important to be proactive and explore different solutions independently so a person can progress on their own.”

And just like that, you’ve created rapport. But you should take it further to explore why it’s important to them and how you agree or disagree with their thought process.

The bottom line is that the interview process is 80% about liking the candidate and having good rapport. So if you can get this step right, you’re well on your way to securing that job.

Step 4: “Trick” them into imagining they hired you already

Since you now have rapport with the interviewer, it’s time to get them to imagine having hired you already. You do that by asking them questions about the future.

Memorize this job rule: The more you talk about the future, the more likely you will succeed in securing the position. The more you talk about the past, the more likely you are to fail.

This sounds counter-intuitive but remember, your history and experience is already qualified for the job. So why waste this time? Focus on the future. 

Here’s some examples:

“Who would I be working with?”

“What would the first 6 months look like?”

And here’s the most important question you can ask: “I’m curious – what do you see me doing day to day from the first time I walk through that door over there?”

Because when they answer that question they have to imagine you in the position to do it. And they’ll mentally walk themselves through a scenario where you’re doing the day to day tasks – which is exactly what you want!

Step 5: Challenge them a little to get more

Now that you’re in a great position to get that job you need to go even further. This is where you get to push back a bit and see how they might respond. But start small.

Here’s an example:

“I’ve worked with several companies. And recently I’ve been interviewing with a number of companies. And I’ve learned enough along the way to know what I’m looking for. I believe from personal experience that no matter how great the position, title or company, it’s more important for me to work with people that I’m really comfortable with. Not just on a professional level, but on a personal level as well. That’s why even though we’re having a great interview right now, I need to make sure I feel comfortable with the entire group and everyone I’ll be working with. So before I come on board I’d like to know if I can meet the entire group. Because that’s very important to me. Is that okay with you?”

In this example, all you’re doing is asking them a question about the people you’ll be working with. But hidden in this question is a subtle qualifier for them to meet and live up to.

They’re usually pleasantly surprised and react as most people would, “Of course we have a very nice team here and we understand if you want to meet the other people in our department”. And by this point, most will be willing to showing you around and meet your potential co-workers right away or at the end of the interview.

This does a few things. Not only is this a test to see if they like you, but it’s also a good test for you to see if you’ll like them too. And bonus: it’ll probably get the whole office talking about you after you leave. :-)

And that’s it. The perfect job interview in 5 steps!

The Moving Parade



Have you ever tried finding parking in a crowded city during rush hour? It can be pretty intimidating.

There you are surrounded by bumper to bumper traffic. You could be driving around for 15, 20, 30, 40 minutes… even up to an hour before you land a spot.

Cars, trucks and SUV’s flood the streets all at once, and everyone’s rushing to get home at frenetic speeds, like a movie in fast forward. It can get so cut-throat at times that you’ll find yourself reacting in self-defense just to avoid getting into an accident.

There are just too many cars for not enough parking spaces. What can you do?

A week ago in New York City, I was being driven around by my friend Joe during rush hour, going to meet friends for dinner. As we drove around looking for parking, you can easily believe it’s an impossible task. There was a parade-like formation of cars in front of us, scouring for any parking spaces left open and we were at least 5 cars behind!

I wanted to give up and find the easy way out: paid parking. But thankfully, my friend Joe was smarter than I.

He knew that the parked cars were there for a limited time. Eventually, some would have to move on and others would take their place – and he just had to be ready for the space he wanted. For when that window of opportunity opened up. You may imagine what he did.

He double parked in the area of the street where he wanted his spot and for 5 minutes we waited for a car to leave. For 10 minutes we waited. Finally, after 15 minutes (we were about to run late), a man approached his car.

And with that Joe pulled up, and positioned his car to take his place and gracefully pulled into it. If it weren’t for Joe, I have no shame admitting I would have thrown my hands up and given into frustration.

And that got me thinking. Isn’t this a perfect metaphor for the job market? Wasn’t this my experience when I got downsized during the credit crunch in 2002? And isn’t this how it must be for you if you’re looking for open positions in an over-crowded market right now?

Thankfully, when it comes to job hunting, I was smart like Joe. And I realized the same thing Joe did: the job market may be over-crowded, but it’s always a moving parade.

And that means no matter how bad it looks to you right now… no matter how much more competitive other people are compared to you, there’s always a window of opportunity that’s about to open up.

You just gotta be there when it happens: The Reverse Interview Method