There Are Only Three Interview Questions That Matter

According to Forbes contributor George Bradt, there are really only three interview questions.

They are:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you love the job?
  3. Can we tolerate working with you?

Everything else is just a variation of those.

“Can you do the job” is another way of asking “What are your strengths?” And Bradt says that it’s OK to ask the interviewer what strengths s/he’s looking for. But likely they’re focusing on “soft” skills like interpersonal skills or the ability to navigate office politics.

“Will you love the job” is a question of motivation. It’s the question you’ll be able to answer if you’ve thoroughly researched the company before coming in for the interview. If you really can’t find anything to love about the job, it’s best not to fake it, but as Bradt points out, motivation doesn’t have to come from loving the impact of the work. You might be motivated because of some benefit the job offers (extra travel?) or because you see it as a learning opportunity, even if the company itself sells the most boring widgets you can imagine.

And of course the final question is about fit. Use the BRAVE framework, says Bradt. That’s:

Behave: The way people act, make decisions, control the business, etc.
Relate: The way people communicate with each other (including mode, manner and frequency), engage in intellectual debate, manage conflict, etc.
Attitude: How people feel about the organization’s purpose, mission, vision, identify with the subgroup, group, organization as a whole, etc.
Values: People’s underlying beliefs, approach to learning, risk, time horizons, etc.
Environment: The way people approach the work environment in terms formality/informality of preferred office layout, etc.

“This is one area where no one should play any games. There’s no upside for either the organization or the interviewee to try to be something different than what they are. They will get caught sooner or later,” he says.

Now if only this meant you only had to answer three interview questions…