The Only 2 Questions You Need to Master in an Interview

Posted March 14, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

Interviewing is hard for a lot of people. It’s nerve-wracking, it’s unpredictable, and it catches you at a time you’re often most vulnerable – when you need a job! Simplifying interviewing is damn near impossible, as there are thousands of combinations of questions and scenarios you could be presented with at any interview. Ultimately, though, interview questions often boil down to small themes of questions. Lou Adler, the author of Hire With Your Head recently wrote a blog post for LinkedIn called “The Complete 2-Question Interview” and his advice is simple yet incredibly thought-provoking.

Adler recommends focusing your interview preparations (and it’s important to note, he also suggests interviewers base their questions) on two key questions/themes:

  1. MSA. Most Significant Accomplishment. You must be able to speak clearly and with confidence about the successes you’ve had in your professional life, especially your most significant success. Can you break that success down into steps and ensure you know how to describe the work you did, the choices you made, the ways you pivoted in the process, and the outcomes?
  2. PSQ. Problem Solving Question. When you’re asked a problem solving question, the interviewer wants to know you can think on your feet about the job you’ll be doing. They also want to see how you might be able to connect your experiences in past jobs to the job you’re about to tackle. Can you talk about how you’ve solved one problem in your current job and parlay that experience into the ways you’d solve the problem at hand?

When you’re practicing for an interview, take the time to place the answers to your questions in the frames of accomplishments and problem solving. When you focus on these two areas, you’ll appear both confident and savvy, and everyone will want to hire you!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."