The magic formula for a successful interview

interview preparation

I’ve worked in the recruitment industry for over a decade. In that time, I’ve interviewed thousands of job seekers, from graduates to CEO’s. What I observed, was how they performed in interview, what they said and how they said it.

I’ve discovered there is a magic formula for interviews. Every successful interview must answer four questions in the mind of the interviewer.



How and


In fact, Google interview preparation and it’s likely you will come across 508 million pieces of content, and most of it will be dedicated to the how and the what.

Over the years, my observation is those job seekers who clearly define the who and the why are more likely to be the successful candidate and are more likely to have a purposeful career.

Who are you?

I can pretty much bet you every single interview you will attend for the rest of your life, the interviewer will ask you this.

“what are your strengths?”

Most people respond with what they are good at. It makes sense, after all, what you are good at must be your strengths.

I encourage you to dig deeper. You may be good at many things, but are your unique strengths?

I’m going to ask you some questions I ask my private coaching clients. When are you at your very best. When are you the most creative? When are you the most energised? What are you doing? When do all the best ideas, pop into your head? When do you do something with such ease, because it’s so natural to you, that others literally stop in awe?

Yes, dig deep, and you will discover your inner strengths. Those are things that are unique to you. Anyone can learn to master Excel or put together a press release. But can everyone dissect and disseminate data and bring meaning and life to it as you can? Or can everyone put words on paper to connect with a target audience to call them to take action?

Understanding your unique strengths is the first step of defining who you are. To be successful at interview, you must find a compelling way to articulate that message.

Why do you do what you do?

Have you seen the Simon Sinek “Starts with Why?” Ted X talk? If you haven’t I strongly suggest, you do. It’s revolutionary. In it, he talks about how every single company in the world knows what they do, some even know how they do it, but only a small number know their why.

I’ve found the same applies to people in their careers. After interviewing thousands of people, I’ve realised every single one of them knows exactly what they do. From a graduate accountant to a CEO. And most of them can tell me how they do what they do. But only a small number can tell me their why.

Defining your why is to take who you are, your unique strengths, values and passions and point it towards a purpose. It connects who you are to something bigger than you.

And your interviewer needs to know your why?

Yes, we all need money, I do too, but that is just a result. I’m asking you to dig deeper.

Ask yourself, what is your purpose in life? Why do you do what you do? Was it something you intuitively knew that you would do growing up? Was it a life-defining moment? Is it part of something bigger? A belief greater than you?

Your interviewer needs to know how this role fits according to your purpose? Where does it intersect? How does one propel the other?

Define your who and your why not only will you get the job but you will be able to navigate through all your major career decisions. Defining it will bring you clarity, it will give you direction, steer your career decisions, from what company you chose to join to what jobs chose to take.

These decisions will determine where you go and what your life will look like.

Hold on to your who and your why. They are your compass.

We are launching Accelus Academy next month with our exciting first program ACCELERATE your job search. We will create your personal brand manifesto, craft a compelling CV and learn the strategies behind a proactive job search. Register now for a pre-release bonus, 20 minute personal skype call with Phebe Cho, founder of Accelus.