How best to answer questions in a job interview?

 In Delivery, Entrepreneur, Environment, Job Interview, Learning from Luminaries, Meetings, News, Q&A, The Winning Voice

Recently I was having a one on one leadership communication training session with a client, and she asked me this question:

“When you’re in a job interview, how do you know if you have answered a question, to the interviewer’s satisfaction. How do you if you should add additional remarks, or not?”

Here are some thoughts I shared with my client:

  • There is no ideal length of time you should take to answer a question. Aim to answer questions succinctly, with an Open, Middle, Close structure. Assume, you have answered the question, unless there are signals from the audience that you haven’t.
  • Certainly you can be too short in your answers,

but for many people, verbosity rules.

  • My view – which I’ve revised in recent times – is that answering a question beyond 90 seconds can be too long. Overall, keep this mantra in mind:

Less is more

(ie. less words delivers more impact)

  • After you have answered a question, pause for a second or two while looking at the interviewers’ facial expressions for any signals that indicate you haven’t answered the question to their satisfaction. If there are no signals, simply wait for the next question.
  • If you have doubt, about having answered a question to the interviewer’s satisfaction, you could say for example, “Would you like me to elaborate?

Own the Conversation

Implementation suggestion

  1. Create a ‘My job interview playbook’ folder.
  2. List learnings that come to mind from your last job interview.
  3. Add the link of this post to the folder.
  4. Use the folder as a guide to review before your next job interview, and to enter learnings from that interview.


p.s.Here is a message from a top performer Fabrizio Fornarelli, Managing Director  of  IT People Australia Pty. Ltd.

I help companies find the best talent to grow their business through an extensive network and great knowledge of the market. I am the #1 Australia IT Recruiter most recommended with 120+ recommendations on my Linkedin profile.

Here an example of what people say about me:
“Fabrizio has a deep understanding of human resource policy, strategy and operations in commercial and the public service sectors. In my 35 years of business and ICT consulting, I have rarely encountered anyone with Fabrizio’s intellectual capability, work capacity, or professional integrity. I would not hesitate to recommend Fabrizio to any prospective client or contractor.” – Greg Reid, Managing Director at BSR Solutions.

My contact details are:
Mobile:    +61 (0) 414 446 058
E-Mail:    fabrizio.fornarelli@itpeopleaustralia.com.au
Website:   www.itpeopleaustralia.com.au

(To be clear, I get no fee for introducing Fabrizio to you).

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