In my interview, do I need to rationalize my design? I am afraid of going into the interview with a pre-prepared idea that is too obvious. After all, I want to stand out against my peers. Should I focus on the solution that I already have in mind, or should I think about other possibilities?

At work, you are more likely to rationalize your decision-making process because you want to convince coworkers and other stakeholders that your decisions correlate with their goals for the product. In an interview, however, you do not have the same opportunity to rationalize your decision-making process because you are put in a situation where you must think about the future, not the past. Do not enter an interview with one pre-packaged idea, as the interviewer may throw you a curveball. Instead, be prepared to discover possible solutions during your brainstorming session. The interviewer will be much more interested in how you think. In fact, they might even give you a scenario with made-up constraints to see how you respond under pressure.

If you decide to focus on 1 solution (rather than explore a number of possible solutions), consider saying something like, “I recognize that I am spending 95% of my time focusing on [x], but I also think that [y] and [z] could be interesting avenues to pursue.” By acknowledging other solutions, you will demonstrate that you are open-minded, as well as adaptable.