National Waffle Day March 25th
Hands up who knew it was National Waffle day on March 25th?
No, me neither….. but in the current climate I’m happy to celebrate pretty much anything, and it got me thinking. In terms of interview tips, this has got to be one of the most important. But yet the hardest to put into practice – how NOT to waffle!
We’ve all done it. As our brains process the situation and the incoming questions, we panic and say something irrelevant. Or repeat ourselves. Or head down a rabbit hole and talk in circles – more often than not to mask nerves, or even as a delay tactic.
So I’ve put pen to paper to give you my best tips to avoid waffling, and to be more succinct in an interview:
Do your homework!
An absolute no-brainer this one. Research the company website, and their LinkedIn page. Even their socials will give you flavour plus intel on movers and shakers, latest wins, campaigns, awards etc. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel.
Prepare a list of likely questions.
Why are you looking to move, why would you like to work here, what’s your favourite work, your strengths – and outline your answers on paper. Bullet points that you can talk around are ideal, so you don’t miss the key points, and can answer thoroughly and concisely.
Rambling is usually caused by nerves, which are understandable, and often inevitable. But what you don’t need to do is rush. There is no harm is taking a breath before you answer. It will give you time to gather your thoughts, formulate your answer. Don’t think of pauses as awkward! Interviewers expect this, and will appreciate a more concise answer.
The STAR method.
An oldie but goodie. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. It’s basically a step-by-step guide to respond to interview questions, ensuring you forget nothing. Its particularly useful for competency-based questions such as “Give me an example of how you’ve handled a tight deadline”.
- Situation = set the scene (X project was a week behind schedule)
- Task = what you were expected to do (I was in charge of project timelines)
- Action = what you did (I spoke to the client / staggered delivery)
- Result = the outcome (we hit all the key deadlines)
Check yourself (before you wreck yourself).
Be self-aware and keep the original question in your head. If you can feel yourself veering off topic, put the brakes on! Bring it to a close and ask “does that answer your question?”. If they want more detail they will simply ask you to elaborate.
Practice makes perfect.
You don’t want to be over-rehearsed, but it’s a good idea to make cue cards, and have a few run throughs – in front of the mirror if you can bare it! You can adjust your body language, posture, demeanour and delivery until you’re happy and then go into that interview self-assured and relaxed.
I hope that gives a few of you food for thought for your next interview. Please don’t forget to prep thoroughly, and remember that when it comes to your answers, as is often the case, ‘less is more’ – except when it comes to actual waffles of course.