We coach many people for interviews. It is an essential part of our outplacement process, if jobseekers can get themselves in front of employers then they do not want to fall at this hurdle.

And what is the biggest issue for those in interview? That they get in their own way.

What do I mean by that? You either get so nervous that you talk too much, or you refuse to communicate at all. Interviewers judge people on many things, but they have considerable frustrations. Especially if they are meeting a whole list of people in a short period of time.

Their biggest frustrations of those who talk too much, then every time you ask a question they give you the background, they explain exactly why the answer will not be quite as good as you think, they tell you the detail of the story or they use that infamous phrase “let me go back in my career to give you a little bit of context.”

You need to stand back and look at yourself. Understand what this is doing to the interview process. And the best way to do this is to watch politicians being interviewed.

Because the ones that really get up everyone’s noses are those that never get to the point, those that talk an awful lot around a subject but never give you an opinion, never give you a straight answer. So if I ask you how your sales were last year, I really don’t want you to tell me how good they were in 2016. I really do not need you to explain that coronavirus caused problems. I am not looking for an in-depth economic assessment before you tell me they were down by 20%.

Much better that you answer “they were down by 20%, would you like to know why that was better than any of my competitors?”

And if you are in the “yes/no” school of communication, you just need to get out of that habit. In response to the question about sales last year we don’t need to hear “I don’t know” or “down 20%”. Just a little bit more explanation, just a little bit more conversation, just a little bit more interaction.

Interviews are two-way conversations. Understand that, communicate properly but succinctly and you are much more likely to do well.