A critical reality to always keep in mind is that you have 60 seconds to make your point to the interviewer or you will lose your listener. This is true whether you have been asked to “Tell me about yourself,” or explain “How you doubled sales in a year.” The best way to ensure you never go over the 60 seconds is to write out and rehearse your answers to the questions you know you are likely to get – describing your competencies or telling about your accomplishments, for example.
Beyond that, there are a couple of tactics you can employ to keep your answers brief, but informative:
- Use a question to clarify what the interviewer wants to hear about. E.g,, “You asked about my extra-curricular activities in college. Are you more interested in my involvement in student government – I was student body vice president as a senior, or my involvement with the varsity soccer team?
- Give an answer that covers the topic of the question, but provides few details and then wait for the interviewer to ask for more information.
Our ultimate goal is to evolve into a conversation with the interviewer that is approximately 50-50 in terms of how much each of us speaks. A back-and-forth conversation is generally more enjoyable for both the interviewer and us.