90 Seconds to a Better Interview

By Fred Coon and Ron Venckus

Here is a great way to test yourself on your behavioral and interviewing acumen.

  1. Identify a company with which you have been trying to secure an interview. This becomes your “company name” in the question below.
  2. Pretend you are now in front of a hiring authority at that company.
  3. You have 90 seconds to provide an answer to the first question below. The “Company Name” in the other questions will be the company you selected in #1 above. Don’t forget to look at your beginning and end times for your answer.

SCC Behavioral interview acumenQuestion: From what you have so far been able to learn about (Company Name) what do you see as the most important challenge(s) they face?

Answer the question and time yourself. When you have finished your 90-second answer, ask yourself these questions.

  • How well did I do my homework on the company?
  • Could I have done a better job presenting my ideas more clearly and concisely?
  • Would a listener know how conceptual I am from my answers?
  • Did I share a vision for the organization and do they believe I can help design that future vision?
  • Did I present the big picture or get bogged down in details?
  • Does the interviewer know from my answer about my previous experience and how I would apply that to benefit the organization?
  • Can they discern and do they “get” my personal style?
  • Do I believe they will think that my skills and applications will impact their future?

Now, rate how you really think you did, and remember, you are only fooling yourself if you inflate your personal rating.

1-Very Poor    2-Poor    3-Average    4-Above Average    5-Excellent

If you scored yourself at three or below, then you won’t receive an offer. What will it take for you to achieve a rating of five?

A simple question isn’t simple. Constructing an idea and answering the “simple” question in such a way that you communicate your value to the company requires hard work, refining and more refining of your responses, and good background research on the company and the industry they occupy.

This is only one question of the possible 10—25 you will be asked in a regular interview; they will ask many more in an in-depth candidate screening. Just be ready for subsequent questions aimed at building on their initial impressions and follow up on questions that will arise from your answers to this one.

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