The Only 3 Interview Questions That Really Matter

There are a million and one tips out there for interviews — what to do, what not to do, how to answer these questions, what questions to ask, and on and on.

Let’s simplify it a little bit (or a lotta bit): a recent Forbes article suggested that “Top Executive Recruiters Agree There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions.” Only three?!

The article’s writer, George Bradt, gathers advice from top executive recruiters to identify the only three interview questions that really matter. They are:

1. Can you do the job?

2. Will you love the job?

3. Can we tolerate working with you?

These three questions address three candidate qualities: strengths, motivation, and fit.

“Can you do the job” plays to a candidate’s strengths. It’s not just about your skills, but your leadership and interpersonal strengths, according to Kevin Kelly, CEO of executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.

“Not only is it important to look at the technical skill set they have … but also the strengths on what I call the EQ side of the equation in terms of getting along and dealing or interacting with people,” Kelly told Forbes.

“Will you love the job” looks for an indicator of a candidate’s motivation. Bill Guy, CEO of Cornerstone International Group, says to Forbes: “Younger employees do not wish to get paid merely for working hard — just the reverse: they will work hard because they enjoy their environment and the challenges associated with their work… Executives who embrace this new management style are attracting and retaining better employees.”

“Can we tolerate working with you” looks at a potential candidate’s fit. Cultural fit is important both for an employee, his or her coworkers and managers, and the overall company vibe.

“A lot of it is cultural fit and whether they are going to fit well into the organization…they could do little things such as send emails in a voicemail culture that tend to negatively snowball over time,” says Kelly.

Given these three essential questions, Bradt suggest job seekers prepare for interviews by thinking about examples that illustrate their strengths, motivations, and their preferred office culture.

What do you think of these three questions? What are some other essential questions for job interviews?



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About the Author: Kate D’Amico is in her senior year at Virginia Tech where she is studying communications with an emphasis in public relations as well as psychology and special events management and marketing. She has prior internship experience in corporate communications and public relations for technology, nonprofit, and association clients. Follow Kate on Twitter!

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