When Interviewing, Keep Your Responses Concise

With the flip of a switch we are coming out of the hottest candidate driven job market to a rapidly slowing economy with a lot of uncertainty about what the next weeks or months will bring as a result of Covid 19 impacts.  For those experiencing change in their employment, some helpful interviewing tips below.

During interviews, many times, candidate responses seem to never end, seemingly wanting to fit every minute detail into their answer, quite often monopolizing the time in an interview.  The danger of this is response drift, boring the interviewer and/or not allowing the interviewer to get through their slate of questions.  Hiring Managers are busy, generally short-handed and usually performing multiple roles while they work to fill them.  Responding with clear, concise and relevant responses to their questions will help you to stand out in an interview.  Two perspectives that I use to coach candidates are below.

  • Keep your responses to interview questions up to 15 to 30 seconds. 
  • If the interviewer asks you to describe your most significant accomplishment in your career, feel free to expand, but limit your response to 60 seconds. 

If you test or practice this, you will be amazed at how much information you can convey in these time bands, focus on the highlights and most pertinent facts.  Typically, interviewers are higher level managers used to getting the highlights and not “the details” unless they need to dive deeper for clarification of any points of interest.  If they do ask for more information, respond accordingly, but keep in mind their timeframe and requirements for their questions.  If the interviewer is satisfied with your response, they will move on to additional questions and get a more thorough perspective of your background as it relates to their need and position profile.  Be cognizant of the interviewer’s style and allow them to control the interview.  You will be happy you did!

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