I dread interviews because I ramble

I dread interviews because I ramble. I can never get my point over clearly, and quite often end up not answering the interviewer’s questions. What can I do to manage my nerves and get across my skills and experience?

You are more in control than you think in an interview. Provided you’ve read the job description and you are completely familiar with your application, you should be able to answer most questions that come up.

Preparation pays dividends

Still, it pays to put some time in on preparation. Divide a piece of paper in half, and on one side write a list of the skills, experience and qualities in the job description. On the other side, write items from your CV or application form that demonstrate you have that skill or quality. You can take this list with you into the interview room. Taking notes with you (kept neatly on a pad or in a folder) simply shows you’ve done your prep. It won’t count against you. It’s not an exam.

You can expect the kind of question that asks: ‘tell me about a time when…’. These questions aim to get you to show that you have the essential skills, experience or qualities in the job description, so be prepared with some specific examples. You can even tailor your CV to attract questions about particular topics.

Try to only talk for one or two minutes per example. If you have difficulty estimating how long that is, then just start with two sentences – one describing the situation and one describing what you did. And then stop. If they want more detail, they’ll ask.

Make a great start

One thing that will help prevent the interview going off the rails in the first place is to rehearse an answer to the question: ‘Tell me a little about yourself.’ It’s usually just used as an ice-breaker question, but how you answer can set the tone for the rest of the interview.

We’ve coached clients whose answer lasted all of twenty seconds, and others who started with where they went to school and rambled on for more than five minutes, taking up precious interview time.

To prevent this, think about four key things you want to get across, starting with what you’re currently doing, mentioning a couple of career highlights, and ending with what you’d like to do next. It doesn’t have to be a chronology, provided it makes sense. And rehearse it – preferably with a partner – until you can reel it off comfortably. Answering this first question well will give you confidence for the rest of the interview.

You’ll find lots more hints and tips in our section on preparing for interview.

October 24th, 2009 | Category: interview, nerves, preparation, questions | No Comments »

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