TCW #001 | The Minimum Viable Interview Prep part 1 of 4: Crafting a Strategic, Compelling Career Story
Learn the 4 high ROI activities that got 93% of my clients through their first-round interviews at top-tier companies like Google
In today’s issue, I’m going to introduce you to the Minimum Viable Interview Prep (MVIP) system for passing first-round interviews.
Then, I’m going to teach you the first system in MVIP. You can implement this system today and significantly improve your odds of passing your next interview.
Most of us don’t interview frequently enough to build a solid, repeatable process for interview prep. Every time we have an interview coming up, it feels like we're doing it for the first time.
Because we don’t have reliable systems for interview prep, most people end up either winging it or overdoing it and burning out.
With an effective system for interview prep, you’ll be able to
and significantly improve your chances of moving on to the next round
First-round interview prep should include the essential activities needed to move on to the next round. Nothing more.
The Minimum Viable Interview Prep system focuses on the 4 highest ROI activities needed to ace a first-round interview. And nothing more.
With this approach, you’ll be:
much less likely to burn out from interview prep.
more confident (this system works for 93% of candidates).
more likely to ace your next first-round interview.
Over the next 4 issues, I’ll deep dive into the 4 systems that form MVIP:
Crafting a Strategic, Compelling Career Story
Walking Down Memory Lane to bring major projects into accessible memory (in full detail)
Mastering Behavioral Interview Questions (all 3 types)
Formulating High-signal Questions for Interviewers (aka: be informed and unforgettable)
Today, we’ll dive into System #1: Crafting a Strategic, Compelling Career Story.
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MVIP System #1: Crafting a Strategic, Compelling Career Story
Your career story is hands-down the highest ROI investment during interview prep.
The most common interview question of all time is “Tell me about yourself.” When you’re interviewing, you'll get this question at least 30 times. Your career story is the answer.
The 2nd most common interview question of all time is “Why do you want to work here?” And guess what — Your career story is the answer here too.
As a bonus:
“Tell me about yourself” is usually the opening question in an interview. Making a strong impression at the top of the interview sets you off on the right foot.
“Why do you want to work here” is often the last question an interviewer will ask. Closing strong can seal the deal on the interview and get you to the next round.
Craft one answer and use it 30+ times in a job search, including the key bookend moments in each interview.
Here's how you're going to do it:
First, Craft your Past Career Story
For each job you've had, establish:
why you took the role (a strategic reason)
what you gained (mapped to the skills or requirements for the job you're applying for)
why you moved on (a strategic reason)
Here’s what mine looks like (written down):
Next, Craft your Future Career Story
For each job that you're interviewing for, establish:
how your past experience sets you up for success (1-2 things)
what you expect to learn or grow in this role (1-2 things)
how this role furthers your Ultimate Career Goal (a Single Decisive Reason)
Now, pick one Single Decisive Reason. Pick the one that feels the most important to you. You only need one, trust me. Better yet, trust Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn:
“There needs to be one decisive reason. If I go for a blended reason, I’ll almost surely come back and feel like it was a waste of time.”
Reid Hoffman’s concept of the Single Decisive Reason is powerful in decision-making and in clear, compelling storytelling.
Here’s what mine looks like from my last job search (written down). The bold items are my Single Decisive Reason for each role.