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15 Minutes to a Better Interview: Summary & Review (8/10)

15 Minutes to a Better Interview teaches readers how to interview effectively.

About the Author: Russell Tuckerton, a pen name for the author, says that he has been interviewing as a hiring manager for decades in both big corporations (Microsoft) and startups. He also says that you should learn how to interview from hiring managers, since they are the ones who make the final decisions -as opposed to HR personnel who just do the first screening-.

Basic rules of interviewing:

  • Dress up
  • If it's not your top priority, hide it and stay enthusiastic
  • Keep your answer short and concise: don't ramble. You'd bore the interview and come across as unstructured
  • Focus on WIIFT (what's in it for them)
  • Only asks for perks after they want you (and remain focused on WIIFT)
  • Avoid volunteering personal information (children, dogs, etc.)

Trap questions to be aware of:

  • Tell me how you handle conflict (or: how you handled a recent conflict): don't say you don't have conflicts because it might mean you're too passive, or don't understand social dynamics. Conflict is natural and it's about how you handle it, rather than living without it. Show instead that you know conflict is normal and that you can handle them as a mature adult focused on results
  • Why should we hire you: don't say you're better than the competition. You don't know that, and you come across as a social climber who disrespects others
  • Tell us about a failure of yours: do have a failure example and show lessons learned from it, together with how you improved yourself. Avoiding to answer shows that you're not a learner and that you might have something to hide

Power dynamics tips:

  • Lean in form time to time: it shows interests
  • Treat a question asked twice as a warning: it means you didn't reply well, or at all, the first time out, and you're annoying the interviewer
  • If you're a booth fair, don't let them see you talk to the competitors: you want to give the impression you were there just for them. You can go back to talk to the competitors hours later maybe, but don't look like a "CV dropper", nobody wants people who do spam approaches


  • Should you never talk about personal stuff?

The atuhor says never to about personal stuff, not even if they have pictures of family on their desk.
I only partially agree.
I think this depends on the type and character of the interviewer. If he goes personal, then it's an opportunity for you to increase the bond. If he remains professional, then I agree, always avoid going personal or it might feel like you are being nosy and unprofessional.


I read "15 Minutes to a Better Interview" as part of my research fr a new lesson on Power University on, you guessed it, interviewing effectively.

The book is short, very short.

But it's "short and sweet", since it focuses on the basics.
But it also provides plenty of examples of both good and bad replies.

The author also says that memorizing hundreds of answers to all possible questions is useless, since you need to understand the rationale behind each questions, and what the interviewer is looking for.

Once you understand what they are looking for, which usually is just a handful of skills and character traits, many questions are simply different tests for that same trait, and you can answer all of them similarly.

I agree with him.

So thumbs up.


Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?