I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve interviewed a candidate and they’ve literally talked themselves out of a job.
It’s one of the biggest let downs when interviewing. You have a great CV in front of you, the experience is spot on, and then… you can’t get a word in edge-ways. Or worse still, you have to ask the same question multiple different ways to get the information you’re looking for.
This is one of the easiest ways to miss out on that job you’re after.
Remember, interviews are time-bound. If you take up all the time on unnecessary details, the interviewer won’t have time to ask all the questions they need to. This gives them plenty of time to find out everything they need to know about you.
It also leaves enough time at the end for the interesting part of the interview. This is the part where everyone’s settled in to the meeting, the nerves have disappeared and the most interesting conversations happen.
The ability to “get to the point” ensures you come across as a leader as well. Even if you’re not interviewing for a leadership position, this is always a good trait to have. In turn, this will also make you easier to understand (instead of people getting lost in random tangents, or getting bored before your story has finished).
I learnt the value of being succinct in the working world (not just interviews) when I had a new senior stakeholder in a previous role. That person reduced a 60+ minute weekly meeting down to 15 minutes. And honestly, a lot more was achieved in that 15 minutes vs any of those 60 minute ones.
I don’t want these blogs to come across as lecturing, so I’ll also give some practical advice to work on this.
Role-play and rehearse answers before an interview. You’re likely going to be asked very similar questions across different interviews and you’ll find yourself relaying the same stories again and again.
Get a friend or relative to listen and give you feedback on how they felt when you answered. Get them to look out for details that weren’t necessary, and strip them out.
A friend of mine always ends their stories with “so, long story, short…” And all the information I needed was after this statement. Maybe try saying “so, long story, short” in your head before answering a question in an interview?
(His stories are great by the way)
I’ll leave you with this:
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”Thomas Jefferson
I hope that helped.