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“What Are Your Three Issues?” Interview Approach


A few years in the past, I used to be working at a recruiting honest with a colleague. We spoke to a scholar each half-hour for 9 hours. To say the least, it was exhausting.


In the course of the occasion, my colleague and I ready inquiries to ask every candidate as a litmus check for figuring out who would obtain a second interview. Like many recommendations on LinkedIn, we targeted on behavioral questions versus technical ones.

My colleague stored asking the identical query on the finish of every interview…

“What are the three issues I would like to recollect about you after you permit this interview?”

Lesson For Me: How To Bear in mind Everybody I Have Interviewed?

Hiring manager listens to a job candidate during an interview

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I used to be moderately younger after I realized this method. We’d sit in a convention room every week or so after the occasion, and we’d slim our suggestion to 2 or three candidates. As a result of time had handed, my recollection of the conversations grew “fuzzy.” My colleague was fairly clear, and I wanted to know why.

“How do you keep in mind so many particulars from this many various conversations?”

His response? The three issues.

The extra distinctive these three responses are, the extra my colleague remembered the dialog. He may recall nuances, which I forgot. He remembered particulars like their mannerisms, clothes, and responses to our questions. He had practically excellent recall.

As he defined, he used the three questions as a pneumonic system to recall info—or a set off. He would re-read the three issues and immediately return to the dialog. He stated with observe, I may do the identical.

Historical past Of My Use Of The Three Issues…

Hiring manager shakes hands with a job candidate after an interview

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After I ask the query, I add one caveat. “Inform me three issues I wish to keep in mind about you after this interview, and make the third one actually distinctive to you.” Then I sit quietly and wait.

Some interviewees are fast on their ft and riffle by means of the solutions. Others are inclined to overthink about what I wish to hear, and I encourage them to easily give me a solution from the intestine. Interviewees who give me canned solutions or anticipate what I wish to hear might not get the job. The candidates who give me one thing particular all the time get my consideration.

Most candidates wish to inform me they’re: hardworking, buyer oriented, organized, keen to be taught, capable of lead, like attempting new issues, get alongside nicely with others, and most of the “typical” coached responses to a query. Some folks solely give me these solutions with out the distinctive one. That’s OK; nevertheless, I can’t assure their interview is memorable.

Those who actually dig deep and share one thing private… These folks I keep in mind and nonetheless have friendships with to this very day.

What Type Of Solutions Do I Get?

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Listed below are just a few candidates who’ve given me memorable responses (if my community is aware of who these individuals are, don’t spoil it for others):

  • Employed round 2003 — I used to be in a horrible automobile accident my junior yr of highschool and spent six months in a hospital mattress due to the plate in my brow.
  • Employed round 2007 — I’ve jumped from 1500 completely good airplanes (parachuting fanatic).
  • Employed 2015 — My grandmother is Native American, and my center title is “Sky” due to my heritage.
  • Employed 2016 — I increase “sugar infants” and have dozens of them in my residence. (Look them up in case you don’t know—I needed to.)
  • Interviewed in 2011 — I really like actually dangerous European EDM music, and I make my very own music on weekends.
  • Employed 2016 — I’m working with my girlfriend by myself fingernail polish firm. We promote on Amazon already and are on the lookout for long-term distribution.
  • Interviewed 2021 — My household owns and performs 1400+ board video games.
  • Employed 2022 — I grew up in a city with lower than 300 folks, and we actually have one cease gentle.
  • Employed 2020 and 2022 — My buddies name me “Captain Redbeard!”
  • And mine — I hear to hurry & thrash metallic music each day (and after I share this with a candidate, I usually get the “you!?” and a confused look in response).

As I write these responses, I can recall components of our conversations; I can keep in mind names, and I see the faces. A number of of those individuals are nonetheless in my life and might be for a few years to return. Others I’ll merely keep in mind the time spent collectively within the dialog. Regardless, I’ll keep in mind the actually distinctive folks in my life.

So What?

Hiring manager reads a job candidate's resume during an interview

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I’m not going to let you know this query will work for everybody. Much like the Dale Carnegie method to studying somebody’s title, I’m merely recommending a tool, a device, a trick to remembering candidates. I additionally suggest you make the query your personal and tweak it as I did.

Do I believe this query helps me? Sure.

Do I ask this query to each single candidate? No.

The interviewees who I wish to work with or rent all the time get the query. I’m curious to observe how they method the query, and extra importantly, I wish to be taught one thing fascinating concerning the individual throughout the desk from me.

Essentially the most rewarding half, I’ve identified some very cool and intriguing folks in my life, and years later, I can clearly keep in mind probably the most outstanding ones who share somewhat piece of themselves with somebody they actually have no idea. That’s the reward!

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