I once went to a job interview where I’d done no prep.
It was early in my career.
I thought I’d just ‘be myself’. I had no idea what I was doing. I dread to think how bad I was.
Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.
The harsh truth?
You’re unlikely to be a natural interview legend either.
This is where frameworks come in.
Frameworks are something to fall back on so you perform your best at interview.
Without frameworks, what happens when you get asked an unexpected question....?
Answer: you panic.
Here’s where most people fall down:
Mistake #1: They go with the ‘be yourself’ approach.
Yes it would be nice if we could pitch up to an interview and ‘do our thing’ and they’d love us and give us the job.
It doesn’t work like that.
If it’s happened to you before…well done, you are a natural!
But most of us mere mortals have to put in the hard work.
Mistake #2: Thinking frameworks make you sound like a robot.
Using a framework does feel a bit…odd at first.
Remember, it’s an interview not a chat with a friend.
It will feel strained.
But frameworks give you the foundation.
Think of them like clinical guidelines. You use guidelines to fall back on when you aren’t sure where to go. Because you know you’ll be safe using them.
As you become more experienced and confident you remember them without prompting. You also choose to deviate from them when you feel it’s appropriate.
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One of my coaching clients, Rosie, was super-nervous for her interview. In fact, her nerves stopped her from giving any sensible answers. She couldn’t focus.
So in our coaching sessions, we focused on frameworks.
She practised and practised.
By the time of her interview, even at her most stressed moments, Rosie could pull a framework out of her brain.
In fact the panel mentioned in their interview feedback they’d noticed her using the ‘Rule of 3’.
They loved it. And she got the job.
Tips To Make Frameworks Work For You
1: Practise with frameworks.
- They only become useful once you can use them automatically
- You can never practise too much, keep going.
- Once you have them down pat, start to adapt them
2: Use a pause. Don’t jump straight in with an answer.
I know we all hate awkward silence.
But use it to your advantage.
Pause and use the silence to think about how you’ll apply your chosen framework.
A Framework Example - The Rule of 3.
Split your answer into 3 sections:
- Intro. Context around the question and state your 3 points
- 3 points. Go through each point one by one. Develop and explore the idea and use examples.
- Conclusion. Give a summary line and state your 3 points.
It's a simple but highly effective framework.
How To Know When You’re Using Framworks Well.
Once you start practising with frameworks you’ll find yourself moving through the following levels:
Level 1: Rambling (No Framework)
- You try to be yourself but nerves take over
- You try to talk while thinking so you aren’t properly present
- You become very aware you’re rambling
Level 2: Robotic
- You stick rigidly to the framework
- You repeat the same phrases for every answer because the structure helps your nerves
NB: Most people will get a job a this stage because the framework itself pushes you ahead of others.
Level 3: More Natural
- You confidently use frameworks
- You bring in your own phrases and inject more of your personality
This is because you aren’t putting all your brainpower into remembering the framework.
Level 4: Adaptable And Natural
- You have the framework there as an aide only
- You fall back on it when you have a blank or when the question is unexpected
But now you naturally have more structured answers. You have practised the structure and timing so much, it feels second nature.
And that's it. Don't wing it, practise with frameworks.
See you next week.