Book Review: 15 Minutes to a Better Interview: What I Wish Every Job Candidate Knew
From time-to-time, as we receive career-related and job-hunting books from publishers, the staff of Quintessential Careers will review them to help you make better decisions about the best books to use in your career and job search.
15 Minutes to a Better Interview: What I Wish Every Job Candidate Knew, by Russell Tuckerton, $6.29. Paperback. (Also available on Kindle.) 48 pages, Interview-aid.com; ISBN: 1500605158
Reviewed by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Whenever a seasoned manager writes a career or job-hunting book, I worry a bit because the person is writing from his/her own perspective — and while that perspective is valid, it may be advice that cannot be applied to all job-seekers. Happily, this little book from Russell Tuckerton, an executive and hiring manager for the past 20 years, provides some very excellent insights and advice that can benefit all job-seekers, but especially those who have trouble with job interviews. We happily endorse it… with a few caveats.
The best thing about this book is that it is written from the hiring manager’s perspective — the person who decides whether you get hired. We have been preaching for years to job-seekers about the importance of cutting through the bureaucracy of organizations to get to the hiring manager. It’s much harder to do so now when job-seeker resumes go directly into a database in the human resources department… of course, you can still reach the hiring manager through your network and/or LinkedIn… but this book is not about how to reach the hiring manager; it’s about how to convince him or her to hire you over the other candidates once you have been chosen for an interview.
Tuckerton states his book is “a highly condensed summary of the most important things you need to know to not only interview well — but to have an advantage over others.” And his book is indeed that; probably a perfect book to read and review the day before a job interview, but we have stress that most job-seekers need a much more detailed primer, something he dismisses as a “waste of time.”
15 Minutes to a Better Interview contains some great nuggets of advice in his first few chapters, covering topics such as keys rules of thumb for interviewing, how to respond to interview questions, and aligning your experience with the position. The key element missing from these early chapter is the extreme importance of brainstorming accomplishments — especially accomplishments relative to the job you are seeking. If every job-seeker went into a job interview with about 10 accomplishment stories, they could answer almost any interview question with ease.
The second half of the book focuses on seven key interview questions — and how to and how NOT to respond to them. The questions include:
- Why are you interested in this position/in our company?
- What is important to you in a work environment?
- Why should we hire you? What makes you the best candidate for this role?
- Tell me about a specific situation where you failed.
- Tell me about a past accomplishment you are especially proud of.
- Tell me how you handle conflict at work.
Why are you looking to leave your current position?
Final Thoughts on 15 Minutes to a Better Interview
Tuckerton has done a great service to job-seekers, taking his years of wisdom as a hiring manager and presenting what works — and does not work — in job interviews into a short and easy-to-read (and implement) book. While inexperienced job-seekers will do better reading a more detailed job-interviewing book first, there is NO question this book has great merit. The advice presented in 15 Minutes to a Better Interview aligns so well with what we preach on our site about interviewing that this book could easily have been published by Quintessential Careers Press.
Check out all our book reviews in Quintessential Reading: Career and Job Book Reviews.