In a GQ article, Alex Malley, Chief Executive, CPA Australia and author of The Naked CEO shared his insights on some great job interview tips – questions and how to answer them. As the one conducting the job interview, Malley said, “Like anything in business, effective interviewing requires a clear objective. Mine is to open a window into the personality beyond the experiences listed on the candidate’s resume. If I’m going to work with this person five days a week, I want to know who they are, what drives them, discover where their potential lies.”

Malley finds the following questions helped him in finding his most wonderful employees in various professions:


What makes you interesting?


What the interviewer wants to know:
– the person’s sense of self and if they can communicate it in a compelling way.

How to answer this question:
Someone who’ll be able to answer the question in this manner will succeed in getting Malley’s attention because according to him: “I’m hiring this person to be an ambassador for the business, so if they aren’t aware or are incapable of highlighting what makes them personally interesting, then I hold little hope in their ability of doing so for the business.”


Talk to me about a failure and what you learned from it.


What this question reveals about the applicant:
This will tell you a lot about their self-awareness and resilience, both of which are essential leadership traits.

How to answer this question:
Answer this question with a deeper, much more visceral response than the classic question, “what are your weaknesses?” It requires a real-life example, evidence. Everyone has experienced failure, but not everyone can articulate what they learned from it, how it bettered their performance.


What are you passionate about in life?


What the interviewer is looking:
Discovering what inspires someone, the activities that excite them outside of work, will tell you a lot about that person.

How to answer this question:
When their eyes light up as they describe their passion with pure enthusiasm, it instills me with confidence that I will be able to channel this energy into their work role – a highly worthwhile investment for the business on multiple levels. If they struggle to provide a sincere answer, I’m left feeling a little empty.


What’d you enjoy the least about your last job?


What the interviewer doesn’t want to know:
I’ve witnessed many candidates struggle to find a suitable answer to this question. They either offer a guarded response, or let the floodgates drop, drenching me in the issues they encountered.

How to answer this question:
While you’re looking for an honest response, you’re primarily looking for someone with the ability to position negative information in a constructive way – a key skill in leadership and professional life.


You think you’ll need more practice? Try our Job Interview Skills Training.

Read here for more great job interview tips.

(updated 2021)

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