MSEJ April 2016 - Page 18

STAYING ON TRACK IN AN INTERVIEW

By: Jenna Weakly

Sometimes people have trouble staying on track in an interview. Rambling, over thinking responses and using answers that don’t relate to the questions, are all ways people easily get off track without even realizing it. Our nerves can take over and cause us to stray from the topic at hand. When we get nervous, sometimes we tend to second guess ourselves and respond with an answer that isn’t “the right one” for the question. Other times, we just get on a topic and get carried away and start rambling, instead of just sticking to the answer.

When you get off track and start rambling, employers tend to question whether you can do the job. They think you are unprepared and didn’t take the time to identify how you can benefit them. Your answers SHOULD tell a story of how you can do the job you are interviewing for. If you can’t tell the story and get employers to see you in that role, then they won’t consider you for the position. You make be asking yourself so how do you stay on track?

1. The best case scenario is to stay on track and never get off. Preparing for an interview ahead of time will give you the confidence needed to stay on track. Give concise responses to interview questions. Try to anticipate the questions and prepare written responses that you practice

saying a day before the interview. Focus on the key element the question is asking about and come up with a short response that highlights your fit with the job.

2. But if you find you have gotten off track, you should try to get back on-track by connecting back to the question. Once I was asked: What is your greatest career accomplishment? I said doing my own research and learning how to create a website and using it to educate a specific audience and…completing my master’s degree. I got off track and didn’t need to add my master’s because it didn’t answer the question. For me to get back on track, I could have said completing my master’s allowed me to have the research skills I needed to look for the right resources to help me display the information I needed on my website.

Researching the company, being prepared, and giving concise responses are all great ideas to keep in mind when you prepare yourself for an interview. Make sure you are telling employers your story and how you can help them. If you get off track, take a breath and a moment to get back on track by using past work experience and relating it to the question that was asked. Remember clear, concise, crisp responses are the key to staying on track!