Here is the best interview advice you will ever read.
- Behavioral interviews are the new normal.
- The ability to express yourself thoroughly and succinctly will elevate your candidacy and land you offers.
If we break down an interview it seems incredibly basic. Potential employers ask a question. Applicants answer the question. To successfully land an offer you need to do more than answer the question, you need to answer the question brilliantly. That’s the trick right? How do you define brilliantly? I define brilliantly by a simple formula.
You are likely wondering what problem prevents most people from achieving brilliance in an interview. Rambling is the problem. Rambling is a result of being unprepared and unpracticed. Often applicants offer too many details, provide irrelevant back stories or miss pointedly answering the question by the time they are done speaking. Practice will keep rambling to a minimum and using Twitter as a template can help.
Approach answering interview questions as if you were composing a Tweet.
- Relevance=# (hashtag) or keywords. Think of this as the main point to your answer. Twitter’s help center says “We recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet as best practice.” This is good advice to apply to your crafting your answers. If you are trying to hit more than one key point you are likely doing yourself a disservice. After reading your answer, consider what hashtags would apply if it were actually a tweet? #connected #applicable #suitable #significant
- Brevity=140 Characters. Write down your answer to common behavioral interview questions word for word as you would say it during an interview. Your first or second draft will likely be much, much longer than you wish to use as an answer during a live conversation. Figure out how to edit, delete and refine your answer until you have a brief, relevant response and then practice. You needn’t keep it to 140 characters of course but the basic principle here applies. On my resume writing and interview preparation page I have a download called “delivering your story” in which I discuss how to use 2-5 sentences to describe motivations for changing jobs to a potential employer. This brief article offers examples of how to drill down to meaningful information. Use the same approach when crafting your answers to behavioral interview questions, limiting your response to two to five sentences.
- Memorable=Creating a Moment. Twitter says that creating a moment offers people “a new and dynamic way to tell their story”. Being memorable is the secret ingredient in answering interview questions brilliantly. Use accomplishments, cost savings, productivity hacks or problem solving examples to leave a lasting impression. However, secret ingredient or not, don’t let the issue of memorability create undue Forethought will often create memorability because you have carefully considered the information shared.
Most interviews are surprisingly uncreative with interviewers using a set of standard behavioral questions. Practice your answers to common behavioral interview questions using Twitter as a template to create a little brilliance in your next interview.