The Key to a Successful Job Interview: Rock Soup

Know the story?

Once upon a time there was an old beggar who went from village to village looking for a hot meal. After failure after failure, he looked down on the ground and saw a rock. He got an idea. He picked it up, took it to a stream, cleaned it, and placed it in his pocket. He then proceeded to the nearest house and knocked on the kitchen door.

When the cook opened the door she barked at him, "What do you want?!"

"Could I please have some water," he asked meekly, "so that I can make some rock soup?"

"Rock soup?" asked the cook. "What's that?"

"I'll show you. All I need is a pot and some water."

Curious, she obliged and filled a small pot with water and put it on the stove. The beggar then removed the rock from his pocket and placed it in the pot.

When the water started to boil he asked for a spoon and took a sip. "It could use a little salt," he said, and the cook gladly obliged. "Better, but maybe some pepper?"

Contemplating his meal he said, "A small piece of carrot and I think we've got it!"

Well the carrot led to a potato, which led to an onion, which led to some meat... which resulted in his rock soup turning into a nice stew.

And that's how you conduct a successful job interview. Begin with the rock -- your top credential. Place in the bowl, so to speak, your number one accomplishment which speaks to the job for which you are being interviewed. Now they're curious. You have their attention. Build from there. As the conversation continues listen carefully. It should not be too difficult to figure out what your interviewers want to hear or, if you will, what the meat is you need to add to the bowl in order to turn your rock soup into a stew of a job offer.
Bruce Hurwitz
Bruce Hurwitz> website | all articles
Bruce A. Hurwitz, Ph.D., the President and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, Ltd., has been an executive recruiter since 2003. The author of A Hooker's Guide to Getting a Job: Parables from the Real World of Career Counseling and Executive Recruiting, he is a recognized authority on career counseling, recruitment, and employment issues, having been cited in over 425 articles, appearing in more than 225 publications, nationally and internationally, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and US News & World Report, as well as on such websites as AOL, CareerBuilder, Monster, The Ladders, and Yahoo! He is the host of Bruce Hurwitz Presents, a live call-in radio interview program. An Ambassador for the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he also hosts their weekly radio program, The Voice of Manhattan Business. He is an on-camera talent for and has been certified as an "Approved Career Expert" by

Hurwitz is an honors graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he obtained his doctoral degree in International Relations (majoring in International Law). A passionate supporter of the military, the mission of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing is to promote the hiring of veterans of the US Armed Forces and Merchant Marines.
  • /data/userPictures/C3411CCD-8FA1-4F25-BE8C-0D1CF6FCC575.jpgDavid Lovelace2/14/2016 8:00:40 PM
    I had a Skype interview on 2-days ago with an SVP Sales. We started off with some pleasantries (The water). I was invited to tell about myself and my interest in the company (Carrots and onions). Other ingredients included sharing insights about myself learned in the CPSP program (Seasoning). Our energies coalesced and we had great fun together (Cooking bringing together the flavors). The interviewer stated, "If you do as well in the job as you do interviewing, you'll be very successful here." Thanks for the article Bruce!

  • /data/userPictures/B366965B-98CF-4714-9D12-11B0BD3E5A0E.jpgSeydou Ndiaye10/23/2017 12:46:48 PM
    Interesting article I will try to use it during next interview process