EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Breathing is a very important activity. And, during an interview, you should be doing a lot of it.

The guideline we begin our lives with is the ever popular 90 second announcement. I hope that all of you have mastered this art form. The 90 second announcement is an important tool in your job search because you have so many opportunities to speak briefly with others and impart some wisdom about who you are and what you do. It is also the world’s best answer to that question that begins most interviews: Tell me about yourself. So, find lots of opportunities to practice your 90 second announcement.

Primarily due to, partially offset by. Is there any question that we can answer briefly? Hard to believe but most of the rest of the world isn’t all that interested in the exact details about anything. Focus on the meaning of the question that has been asked and try to come up with only the essential information.

If you are going to tell your story and respond to questions that are raised in an interviewing environment, it is important that you keep your answers brief and on task. An interview is usually no more than an hour, and every moment is a valuable opportunity for you to communicate your value.

What you need to do more than anything else is watch for signals from the interviewer that they want you to move on. (If they fall asleep, for example, that would be a signal to stop.) For typical questions 2-3 minutes is about the limit. After you have answered the bulk of the question, pause and see if the interviewer has another question or is satisfied with your response. Then and only then might it be okay to provide additional information.

There is a long list of typical interview questions on our website if you want to practice. That said, you should already have in mind the kinds of questions you might anticipate will be asked.

Why did you leave your last job? This is a question that should always be answered briefly. The inquiring mind wants to know. But as lawyers say: question asked, question answered. Once you stop, there rarely is a follow up question. They just want to know, and you have told them.

While it is impolite to keep looking at your watch, when you practice you should put a timer on you responses.

Think of the entire interview as a blank sheet of paper. As with your resume you only get 2 or 3 pages tops. How you fill in the time, whether wisely or not, will impact your chances of getting that golden opportunity.

Remember, a good salesman knows when to shut up. Keep talking and you can easily undo a sale that has been made.

Regards, Matt

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