A very useful mental tool you may want to consider during an interview is to apply the “so what?” test to whatever you are intending to say when preparing your response to a particular question.
This is a tool that primarily applies to written presentations that people are preparing to give, as well as to articles people write in order to ensure they provide their audience or readers with the most relevant information.
However it can certainly be applied to a more one to one interview situation.
Here’s what you do: In that split second before you answer a question, assess whether the answer you are going to give adds to the interviewer’s relevant pool of information about you. If it doesn’t, more than likely it’s the ‘wrong’ answer – or at least not what the interviewer needs to hear at that point in time.
Most of us (myself included) are prone to waffling away at length during an interview on various topics and much of that information is not precise or relevant to the listener … so why am I even sharing it with the interviewer?
Be ruthless with yourself. Both when you prepare the information you want to share at the interview and again during the interview make sure you don’t waffle away just because it feels comfortable. Stick to the relevant information and impress the interviewer with your ability to focus on key issues.
Be conscious that even when applying for a job similar to the one you currently have, certain pieces of important information can vary a little bit each time. A graphic design job within an advertising agency is not identical a job with the same title in a design studio or in an in-house corporate operation.
Remember you are not interviewing to prove your ability to get a job … you are interviewing to prove your ability to perform in and ultimately succeed in the job.
We’d love to hear about your successes once you’ve actually put the so what test to the test!
Above all… be relevant to be successful.