Warming Up The Interview

Those who exercise know to get the best results every session should start with a warm up phase. Warming up helps prepare the body for what’s to come so optimal results are achieved. The warm up is only supposed to take a few minutes. If you have an hour to exercise and spend 45 minutes warming up, you get a lot less out of the process.

Job interviews have a similar format. Employers often start interviews with simple questions designed to calm the candidate’s nerves and get him ready for more challenging topics. As with workouts, the warm up in the interview is only supposed to last a few minutes. The interviewer has much more indepth questions to pose in order to assess an applicant’s fit for a job. Eating up valuable face time with a hiring manager giving a 20 minute answer to a 2 minute warm up question is a big no-no. It substantially reduces the amount of beneficial information the interviewer is left with to consider at the end of the interview. When I’m on the receiving end of long answers to simple questions, the frustration is overwhelming. We may be getting on well, but I have objectives to accomplish and a dissertation on how the person heard about my company doesn’t help me in the least.

I’ll close by saying most times when a candidate finds himself talking for 20 minutes straight he is off the mark. I imagine there are exceptions, but a majority of questions can be answered without requiring a few sips of water midway through. My experience has been those who are able to keep responses to warm up questions succinct are less likely to go overboard on the meatier topics.

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