Performance Preparation Questions

Answering Questions – The Rule of 3

Rule of 3
Written by Jonathan

I’ve interviewed a lot of candidates over the last 20 years. Candidates experience has varied from straight out of college or university to experienced individuals.

And no matter what level of experience they have, there is a common theme that appears. Answers to interview questions lack depth.

Purpose of an Interview

The purpose of interview is for one individual (the interviewer) to get to know another (the candidate) better.

They want to find out if the candidate sat across the table is right for the role and their organization. Do they have what it takes to contribute and add value for that organization?

You have to remember that an interviewer has a problem.  They have a vacancy to fill. They hope that you as the candidate will be the solution.

The most popular way to find out if a candidate is right for a role, is to ask questions. To:

  • Gather information
  • Understand their experience
  • Understand their skills and knowledge
  • To get to the real person

Most interviewers use the same or similar types of questions (21 Most Common Interview Questions). So it shouldn’t be too difficult for a candidate to come prepared with answers. Unfortunately, most don’t and often the answers provided lack depth.

These answers are far too generic. There is no substance to them. There is a lack of information given to back up the answer.

This relies on the interviewer digging deeper.  They will

  • Question again
  • Rephrase the question, or
  • Ask something different

in the hope that they’ll get the answer that they are seeking. If that happens to you, you’ve not answered their question.

Don’t be one of them. Create depth to your answers.

Rule of 3

How can you do that?

You can apply the ‘Rule of 3’. You can use and apply it for each of the questions (21 Most Common Interview Questions).

For each of the questions, think of a least of 3 examples. Most interviewers will not want more than 3 examples. They’ll then move onto the next question.

The Rule of 3 is a minimum. More than 3 is great too. It’s always worth having more examples to back up your answers. Here’s how to apply the Rule of 3:

Question: What are your strengths?

  • List at least 3 of strengths
  • List 3 examples, for each of the 3 strengths, to back it up

Question: What are your weaknesses?

  • List at least 3 of weaknesses
  • List 3 examples, for each of the 3 weaknesses, to back it up
  • What 3 things are you doing to manage those weaknesses?

Question: What motivates you?

  • What are 3 of your motivators?
  • List 3 reasons why, for each motivator, to back it

Question: Tell me about a time when things didn’t go well

  • List 3 examples
  • List 3 reasons why they didn’t got so well
  • List 3 that you’d do it differently next time

You can apply the Rule of 3 to all the common interview questions.

Having depth to your answers will help you come across as a much more rounded individual.

You will show that you know yourself and have come prepared.

QUESTION: How can you apply the Rule of 3?

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About the author

Jonathan

11 Comments

  • Hey there , Hello
    I was just tryiny to overcome the fear of “Tell Me About Yourself” …
    Please review or proofread it …

    I’m Lalit Kyal born & raised up in Gorakhpur. I completed my High-School & Intermediate from Mahatama Gandhi Inter College,Gorakhpur. Presently, I’m pursuing my undergraduation in Arts from a Private College affiliated to DDU Gkp. Univ.

    Basically, I’m a person who likes to take things as the way it goes in a composed way. But, I’m a dreamer. I do lot of things which people may conceive illogical but for me there is always a logic in what I do and why I do. I live by my convictions.
    My passion is to be a great manager. I love managing things and want to be a great decision maker.

    I’ve always been interested in Computers, technology & How tech works.
    My hobbies subsume social networking, listening music, imagining consequences & I love to fix & furbish up little household problems. I also savour hanging around peaceful places whatsoever they may be.

    I believe in my abilities and also that I have a special one in me. I’m resilient, pragmatic & perceptive.

    My greatest weakness is my self-pity and the reason for that is lack of self confidence, a lot of it, which results in me taking a very few initiatives. Instead of missing an opportunity I runaway from opportunities. I provide myself reasons to be satisfied.
    But, I’m giving unceasing efforts to move forward and face new challenges to provide myself better results by time.
    I’m also not so fluent in english because I left its touch after high school. Need to enhance my communication skills
    and I am very willing to do it, nervousness but
    I know how to manage my fear.