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Importance of Concise Interview Answers

In learning how to interview well, learning how to craft concise, pointed answers is paramount. One of the most common mistakes candidates make when they first begin interviewing is over explaining. While it is important to give thorough answers, not all questions require a 15-minute speech. Keeping answers short and to the point will convey confidence and allows the hiring manager to dictate the direction of the interview. Remember, if the hiring manager wants more information they will ask.

Do not feel the need to fill empty pauses with more words

Hiring managers may take a moment to write notes or to collect their thoughts before proceeding with another question. When this happens, it is important for the candidate to remain quiet, confident, and calm during the pause. Filling the silence with additional information will distract the hiring manager and indicates a lack of confidence in the candidate’s response. 

Take a moment to collect an answer to prevent rambling

Contrary to popular belief, taking a quick pause after the hiring manager asks a question will convey reflection, and not necessarily that the candidate does not know the answer. The quick pause can prevent a one-minute answer from turning into a three-minute answer. When an answer goes past the 90-second mark, chances are the candidate has lost the hiring manager’s attention.  

Keep in mind the schedule of the hiring manager

A hiring manager may have only set aside 45 minutes to interview a candidate. Additionally, the hiring manager may also have 15 questions to ask in order to get through the interview. Taking five minutes to answer each question will not lead to a successful interview or landing the job. At the beginning of the interview, don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager how long the interview should be. 

Being concise not only exudes confidence but also shows that a candidate can be both efficient and effective. These skills can distinguish a good candidate from an extraordinary candidate, make the difference in your next interview!

When asked, aggressively defend your positions

If a hiring manager asks for more detail on an answer given, take the opportunity to show the thought that produced the answer. Vacillating on a position shows the Hiring manager that the candidate is unsure of their own answers, consistency is key.  If there are circumstances in which a candidate may changer their position, talk about it. Typically a hiring manager will ask for more information when they are particularly interested in the subject matter, so be ready for a purposeful discussion when this happens.

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