Don’t Fall at the First! Answer This Simple Interview Question Well.

Published: 22 August 2013

I start all of my interviews with a simple question. It’s geared to get a clear read on the candidate as they see themselves, and as they see the role. Until you can give a simple, clear answer to this question stop absorbing press releases, analyst reports and EBITDAR. The question is simply; ‘What are you?

Consider your response carefully. This is not a call to disgorge a long list of superlatives. It’s a simple question, so respond with a clear and simple view of yourself in terms most relevant for the opportunity at hand. Use concise and impactful unfussy language – set the tone for the interview ahead.

This headline provides a frame for the interview. It enables us to move onto putting the ‘meat on the bones’; drawing key achievements out and letting them speak for you. And remember it is achievements not responsibilities that count. The former speak directly for you, the latter are common amongst your professional peer group.

Some might argue that it’s a touch over simplistic and maybe it is. But it’s a starting point, and it’s a start which illustrates good self-awareness. A good start.

Matt Cockbill is a Partner, and Head of Technology, and Energy, Manufacturing & Infrastructure Practices for Berwick Partners and has made a career of asking some sensible questions and some less so.

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