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Organic Job Interview Example

You can bring questions like these to the interview, but don’t ever follow a script or let yourself get scripted if you can help it! Let the conversation unfold naturally, the way other human conversations do. Here is an example of an organic job interview conversation. Notice how the job-seeker, Kevin, lets the conversation dictate what his next question will be. He can get into a much more satisfying and intellectually-stimulating conversation this way, and so can you!

MANAGER: So, Kevin, what are your greatest strengths?

KEVIN: I’m going to answer that in the context of this job, as I understand it so far, okay?


KEVIN: Well, I heard that you need someone to run interference between the sales team in the field and the Production Scheduling department. It sounds as though sometimes there are delays or misunderstandings about the relative priority of orders that need to go out. One of my strengths is listening carefully and confirming what I’ve heard, to make sure that I understand all the implications of what a person is trying to tell me.

MANAGER: Okay, great. How do you think that would help you in this job?

KEVIN: Well, you have smart people working here. If there is sometimes confusion or frustration about the way the orders get scheduled, then there might be something in the process that isn’t taking into account the different considerations that could make a difference, like a particular customer’s urgency or the fact that a certain order had been held up earlier in the process.

MANAGER: Good thinking!

KEVIN: Can I ask you a question about that?


KEVIN: What are the other points in the process where an order can be held up?

MANAGER: The buyer can hold up the order on their end, but you know how people are, they’ll still hold us responsible in their mind, because THEIR client is waiting for the order. It’s a hurry-up-and-wait situation. Our sales guy is frantically trying to get the order from them so that he or she can get it to us. We’re waiting for it, but we can’t get into production scheduling because we don’t have the actual order yet.

KEVIN: So if I had this job and I were in close touch with the salespeople, could I get that advance notice from them, like “There’s going to be a big order coming from Customer X,” so I could work with the Production Scheduling folks to queue that up even while we’re waiting for the order?

MANAGER: I like the way you think.

10 replies
  1. Nagla Toma
    Nagla Toma says:

    Just a couple of examples I faced recently and both while interviewing with HR representatives. In both cases the company profiles seemed to suggest innovation, forward thinking and encouraging out of the box solutions to problems.
    1. my background is a mix of contract / full time work revolving around 3 inter-related skills. HR mentioned that ‘with all this job hopping, even though it wasn’t your fault…’ I interrupted saying it was no fault of mine or anyone else – it was all by design to gain the type of experience I was looking for. She wasn’t impressed and said ‘I gave you a chance, and you mentioned by design…’. I thanked her for being candid. Definitely a place I wouldn’t want to work for…or is it just HR?
    2. discussing salary expectations, I quoted what is the reasonable market rate for my level of expertise and the job – HR’s answer ‘you were making just that and now you want that much…’. I explained that my salary changed a lot based on the job type and my experience. Why would HR be so rude? again not a place I’d like to work in
    Just wanted to share some of my experiences.

    • John Nix
      John Nix says:

      Yea I think many HR people are completely out of touch with the way the economy has forced many of us to accept lower salaries to survive but our value should be based on market rates because that is what our education and experience are worth.

  2. jeff jones
    jeff jones says:

    While some may read this and think it is unrealistic I can assure you it is realistic. Each interview where I was able to talk with this kind of candor and problem solving language has resulted in me getting hired.

  3. L. M. Lewis
    L. M. Lewis says:

    The use of dialogue in this example really helped me to understand the meaning of “organic job interview”. I can attest this method has resulted in me being hired.

  4. Suraj Nagaraj
    Suraj Nagaraj says:

    In my opinion, managers who hire for core technical jobs , specially in software/firmware/hardware development don’t really get into an “organic interview” situation.

    I’ve always had “to the point” questions and no time waster discussion.

    It could be, that the roles I’ve picked to interview for have been presented to me in this particular way.

    Just an input.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] authentic and therefore effective in your professional life. Some of her blog posts include ‘Organic Job Interview Example‘, ‘Job Offer Negotiation Script‘, and ‘How to Reach Your Hiring Manager […]

  2. […] The best interview questions, though, are not the ones on our list but organic questions that spring from the unfolding conversation, as in this example. […]

  3. The Five Deadliest Job Interview Mistakes says:

    […] The best interview questions, though, are not the ones on our list but organic questions that spring from the unfolding conversation, as in this example. […]

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