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Book review: crack that interview

Why You? 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again by James Reed (Penguin £9.99)

September 2015

Author James Reed knows a thing or two about how interviews work – he is after all chairman of recruitment giant Reed, which gets 46 million job applications a year.
His introductory chapters deal with general points around the interview and are thought-provoking, but the real meat of this book is the subsequent chapters dealing with the ‘killer’ interview questions we all know and dread. Reed takes a clever approach to these questions; he first lists the actual question, then underneath explains what the ‘real’ question is – namely, what the interviewer is driving at. He then recommends a ‘Top-line Tactic’, suggesting how you tackle the question without falling into a trap or digging a hole for yourself. So for example: Question 48 – Have you ever stolen a pen from work? Reed says the ‘Real Question’ here is ‘will you pretend you’ve never put a foot wrong, or will you do the right thing?’. His suggested Top-line Tactic is that you understand that the firm is more worried about your integrity than their inventory. The author suggests you deal with this type of – very common – question in a perfunctory manner, explaining that you’ve may have accidentally taken pens home from work, but have always tried to remember to return them. This way you’re admitting to an honest mistake without painting yourself as a saint.
The 100 other questions from the title are dealt with in similar fashion. So if you want to know how best to deal with the question, “Every CV has at least one lie on it. What’s yours?”, then you really need to buy this tome.
Reed explains the four main points readers should take from the book. They are: the best person you can be at interview is yourself; the way you talk about yourself and your potential is more important than a good CV or expensive education; every interview question asked is a variation on a handful of underlying questions; and to an employer, a job is a problem to be solved – all other concerns are secondary, including yours.
PQ rating: 5/5 Read this book now, its insights will stand you in good stead.

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