ABRAHAM LINCOLN GOT IT RIGHT
On November 19, 1863, part of the Gettysburg Civil War battlefield was dedicated as a cemetery for the northern soldiers. Edward Everett, considered one of the greatest orators of that era, spoke for two hours. President Lincoln, chose just 272 simple words and spoke for two minutes. Everett’s monumental effort full of pretentious words was forgotten almost as soon as it was delivered. Lincoln’s plain words are remembered. Don’t dismiss simplicity… try to achieve it.
Many candidates believe, like Everett, that more is better. In interviews they talk about all the tasks and activities they engaged in on prior jobs in the hope that the interviewer will be impressed by something they did and out of fear they might omit just the right item that will win the interview. Brief and focused is better.
Preparing for an interview includes learning the critical requirements of the position. By focusing answers on the critical requirements, your answers will be pertinent and will address the hiring manger’s needs. It will also help you avoid adding additional tasks/experiences you have done which is of no interest to the hiring manager and may undermine your match with the position. For example, if you are being hired to do call center work having done accounts payable may just be confusing
Keeping responses brief is more effective and powerful. As a guideline, your answers should be no longer than two minutes. If you are speaking for more than two minutes, end your answer and ask the interviewer if you have answered their question and if they would like additional detail. Use their response to decide to go on or stop. Also, ask if your answer was on target and if it addressed their question.
Brief highly focused answers that are specific to the critical job requirements are the most persuasive answers in an interview. Supporting these answers with a visual presentation, (a printed interview presentation) increases retention, improves your chances of winning the interview, and landing the job.