Most job seekers struggle during interviews because their answers are not clear, concise, or memorable. Interview responses frequently veer off course, are too long, or contain extraneous information that dilutes the candidate’s original message.
The best way to practice interviewing for a job is to record or videotape your responses and self-edit. Or if you don’t have access to these recording devices, call your voicemail and leave your responses to some of your toughest interview questions there. Here are the questions job seekers should ask themselves when they review their interview recording:
- Is my response too general? Many job seekers think that responses to interview questions should be very general to show their big-picture thinking. But specific examples of success are what help build trust and confidence with a hiring manager.
- Does my response only describe my job tasks or does it showcase my accomplishments? Most hiring managers believe that past success is a good indicator of future success. Many of your competitors will possess similar job skills. Focus on the impact your knowledge had on the organizations you supported to prove how you do things smarter, faster, and more efficiently.
- Am I answering the question? First of all, make sure you understand the interviewer’s subtext, or what the question really means. Then, make sure you answer it. Don’t wander off track; focus on communicating a clear story that conveys your professional challenges, the actions you took to address those challenges, and the corresponding results that prove how you help companies make money, save money, save time, or grow the business.
- Is my answer too long? Long-winded responses are a pet peeve of many HR professionals. If your answer to an interview question is too long, the hiring manager might start tuning you out before you get to the best part of the story. As a general rule, responses that are more than 90 seconds are probably too long. If your responses tend to ramble, reflect on the question, do some editing and continue to practice your answers until you can create a tighter, more digestible sound bite.
- Does my voice communicate enthusiasm and interest? Your body language contributes to your messaging, but your voice alone also plays a critical role. Is your speaking voice very soft or very loud? Is it monotone or are you using appropriate intonation to communicate your talking points and value? By listening to your pre-recorded voice, you can make adjustments to improve the quality of your message.