How Long Should Your Interview Answer Be? | Personal Branding Blog


I’m not sure whether you’re like me. I’ve stopped reading! I read no more. I skim and browse and hover over the surface of words, and when I find something interesting, only then do I dig in and absorb the content. Nowadays, because of ubiquitous electronic media, you can immediately suffocate from constant immersion in more information than you could ever deal with.

Why is it that everyone’s suddenly become so prolific? Twitter came up with the brightest idea of all: 140 characters. Period. The answer to the question is because it’s so much easier to write in abundance versus to write eloquently and succinctly. Try this: think of a noun and describe it as if you’ve been asked to write a dictionary definition for it. Now look up the word in the dictionary, and read what the dictionary says. Have I made my point?

So, how does this apply to job seekers? Hiring decisions are being made during the interview. The hiring manager asks questions, and the candidate answers the questions, but often–instead of giving a short summary–the candidate thinks this is the time for a lengthy answer, including the whens, hows, whys, why nots, and so on. The answer becomes an endless rambling that ends in complete failure. The candidate is not happy after realizing what happened, and the interviewer lost the candidate because of a much, much shorter attention span. Both parties lost. This is not a good answer.

The only way to create a win-win situation in an interview is for candidates to be prepared with short answers to a variety of job-related questions. And practice, practice, practice. Know why? Because practice makes perfect!

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