Job Interviews: Are There Really Only 3 Questions that Matter?

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A recent Forbes article by George Bradt and another by Bernard Marr suggested that there are really only 3 questions that employers want answered in a job interview (although often they will be broken up into many different parts).

These 3 questions are:

  1. Why should we hire you? (Are you up to the job advertised? Are your skills, expertise and experience up to the task? )
  2. What can you do for us that others can’t? (How passionate, enthusiastic and interested in the job are you?)
  3. Will you fit into the team, culture and company?

While these 3 areas must be considered, it should be in the context of behavioural descriptive examples. Launch recommends constructive practice of typical interview questions, because the answers can be used in many ways.


The most important thing I look for when hiring for my own company is the individual’s thirst for learning. I use BDI (behaviourally based) questions to ascertain how the candidate has acted in previous positions and particular circumstances. I assess their skills, experience and cultural fit to the business and the role. Considering those boxes are ticked, it is the questions I ask around their continuous improvement and desire for knowledge that provides me the red or green light. A commitment to learning and self- improvement is essential for those who intend to grow with the organisation.  Rebecca Wallace


According to Kathrin Tschiesche, it is estimated that about 80% of an interview can be made up of behavioural questions. This is based on the philosophy that your past actions are usually a good indicator of future behaviours. Tschiesche suggests 19 behavioural interview questions and how to answer them in her article.

In behavioural descriptive interviewing, also referred to as “Critical Behaviour Interviewing”, employers are looking for predetermined core competencies required to do the job well. There are no “correct” answers; they are looking for behaviour patterns. Dr Tom Denham has compiled a list of 50 behavioural based interview questions you might be asked in an interview. It is worth doing some research and finding a range of interview questions to practice.

The key to performing well in a job interview is preparation.

  • Know your USP!
  • Understand how your experience and skills match the vacancy.
  • Prepare examples of how your contribution benefited your previous employers.
  • Practice your responses to example questions prior to your interview.
  • Research the company and the role well and prepare relevant questions.


First impressions

Right from the moment you walk into reception you are being assessed. Be polite to the receptionist, ensure you know the name of the person you are meeting and that you arrive a little before time.


Your hand shake should be firm but not bone crushing. Men can sometimes be concerned about shaking a woman’s hand and due to this the grip can be too soft and limp. Shake a woman or a man’s hand with a firm grip and with good eye contact. If your hands are clammy, take a handkerchief with you and dry them just before you enter reception.


What to wear. It is better to be over dressed for an interview than under dressed, where possible wear a suit.


The fact is that interviews take many forms, from more formal panel style interviews to an informal conversation over coffee. Regardless of the type, the aim is always to assess your fit for their role and organisation. Interviewing with the HR manager will be a different format and structure to interviewing with the line manager. Different again will be meeting with an agency recruiter for a client role. Usually an interview with a HR Manager or a recruiter is structured and thorough as they are experienced in interviewing.


On occasion, when meeting a line manager, you may feel you can’t get a word in. Inexperienced interviewers can spend the interview time discussing the role and the company and neglect to ask the questions around your suitability for the position. Before every interview you should be prepared with key examples which demonstrate your fit for a position.


If you feel that the interview is drawing to a close and you’ve not had much air time don’t conclude the interview until you’ve provided the interviewer with examples. Don’t miss the opportunity to describe your talents.


Research the company well. Cite examples that show your answers can be backed up by action when in the workplace.


When an interview is coming to a close reiterate your interest in their company and role. Ask if the interviewer has any concerns at this point about your fit to the position and if possible alleviate those concerns prior to the meeting ending. Finally thank them for their time and consideration.

Read these 12 tips to get a great job.


While many interview questions can fit into these 3 areas, we recommend constructive practice of typical interview questions, because the answers can be used in many ways.


For more information on how to present well in an interview click here.