6 questions to ensure you get a “yes” at your next interview

6 questions to ensure you get a "yes" at your next interview

I want tell you the most powerful job hunting secret you’ll ever hear. OK, big call, I know, but time after time, when I speak with job hunters, this is one of the most radically under-used strategies I see. Or rather, don’t see.

And before you get all skeptical on me, I can tell you now, that scientifically, mathematically and any other kind of ‘ically’ you’d like to throw at me, it’s an actual fact that you’ll be six times more likely to get a ‘Yes’.

Somewhat unimaginatively, I like to call it ‘The Big Six’. And here it is: You don’t ask one question, but six. Boom! There it is. So what exactly are these six mystical questions? Here goes…

  1. The first one is, of course, “Hey, can I have a job?” and most of you will have that one covered. It comes in many shapes and sizes, and you can try adding things like “Please” or even “Or else” onto the end of it. But the general question is what it is. But for some reason, this is where most people stop. Which is like digging for oil and giving up 2 inches down. Or putting only one bullet in your Job Hunting gun. It’s stupid really. You’re there, you may as well load up and give it everything you’ve got.
  2. A job may actually be the ‘Holy Grail’, but you can also ask for work experience. Not sexy or glamorous, but a good foot in the door. Sometimes this gets called an ‘internship’, (which sounds much nicer than ‘slave labour’), and I know not everyone is interested in prostituting themselves for little or no pay, but I stand firm by the idea this can be worth considering under the right circumstances.
  3. As much as work experience is a no-money pain for you, it’s worth remembering it can also be a pain for the company having you hang around like a bad smell. They need to find you a desk, maybe a computer and possibly a baby sitter. As the (not very) old saying goes, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat”. So if there’s no job and no work experience, try asking if there’s a brief or project you can take away and work on. In your own time and space. It’s a great way to show what you’re capable of, and if it’s a live brief, you may even prove helpful. Plus you get to come back for a follow up.
  4. If you’re ‘Strike Three’ from the first three questions, you’re still not necessarily out. This isn’t baseball, you can survive three strikes. Your fourth question then, is to ask if they can at least give you some solid feedback on your portfolio or résumé. Find out what they did and didn’t like about it. This can not only prove useful for future interviews, it shows them you’re a thinker. It’s one thing to put down how clever you are in your résumé, but if you really were that clever person and you had all that initiative you say you have, you’d be asking questions like this. Every. Single. Time.
  5. Ask them if you can stay in touch. If you’re really ambitious, and you really respect/admire/like the person, ask if they’ll be your mentor. Just don’t use the word ‘mentor’ cause it scares the hell out of most busy people and they’ll be worried you’re going to camp in the corner of their office for the next few years. Just make it sound real casual like, “hey, would it be OK if I dropped you an email every now and then if I have a question or something to run past you?”. Most people are pretty decent and will say ‘yes’. The ones who don’t are probably arseholes and you’re better off without them. Getting permission to stay in touch is a great way to, ah, well, stay in touch. And that’s a massive part of the job hunting process – being around and top of mind when an opportunity arises.
  6. Ready for this? This one question could, right here, right now, absolutely majorly multiply your chances of getting a job. Before you leave, even if it’s on your way out the door, ask if they can suggest anyone else you can go chat with who may be able to help you. If every person you went and saw gave you one or two more names, you’d generate a sensational prospects list. Even better if when you call the new contact you can name drop and say “So and so suggested I come say hi”… That little phrase right there will get you into plenty of extra doors.

So there you go, The Big Six. Asking these six questions every time you meet an industry contact will radically improve your chances of success. Even if you don’t get a job, instead of being too bummed about it, you can very easily come away from a meeting with something useful.

It’s probably worth mentioning, I go through some of the ins and outs of these in more detail in my Job Hunter’s Boot Camp, but mostly they’re self-explanatory so add them to your arsenal of job hunting weapons and happy hunting!


Interested to know more about Sputnik’s book: “The Swashbuckler’s guide to becoming an Astronaut”

This is the almost definitive guide to getting your foot, and hopefully the rest of your body, in some of the coolest, but most notoriously closed doors in the world.

Aimed primarily at the fields of Marketing, Advertising and Design, the insights and advice in this guide are relevant to almost all job hunters – except perhaps those genuinely wanting to be astronauts. Or neurosurgeons.

With advice from some of the biggest, brightest and most successful names in their fields, this guide is an absolute must for anyone wanting to break in, get back in after being booted out, or perhaps even those wanting to find a better job than the crappy one with the unbearable boss they have now.

Quite simply, if you follow the advice in this book you will find a job. End of story.

Sputnik is offering his book at the very special price of just $20 shipped anywhere in Australia to Firebrand blog readers! This offer is for a limited time, so if you’re on the job hunt, get the book.

More reading: 

Why does job hunting strike fear into the heart of even the bravest hunters?
3 steps to make your cover letter stand out and land you a job
What is the best job in the world for you?


Excellent! You read all the way to the end so hopefully you’re enjoying our blog posts? Why not Subscribe to receive them via email as soon as they are published? Go on, you know you want to.



Subscribe To Firebrand Ideas Ignition Blog

Sign up to receive our new blog posts via email. You'll get all the latest articles on digital, marketing, social media, communications, personal branding — and lots of career advice

Search Website