On a daily basis I strive to stick to the point and keep things simple. The nature of my job makes those things very important because you are dealing with busy people who are taking time out of their day and may only have a few minutes to spare. Dancing around an issue and giving a paragraph answer when a few words would have done the trick wastes a lot of time. On the other side of the coin, giving only one word answers or very abrupt answers conveys a lack of caring or interest.
One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes of all time is The Soup Nazi. If you haven’t seen it , check out this link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J02RdkvI6zo&feature=related). Portrayed is a business owner that understands time is money and oversimplifies the ordering process to an extreme. Now imagine if an interview was like that. You walk in and quietly sit down, no pleasantries exchanged. Place your resume on the desk and field two maybe three questions before hearing “NO JOB FOR YOU!” as the door hits you on the way out. Very few interviews are love at first sight and require some digging to uncover all the skills and assets a candidate can bring to the table.
Believe it or not I have seen some interviewers employ this tactic. How much can you learn about a candidate if all you ask is a couple close ended, yes/no type questions with no follow up questions thereafter? The answer is not much. Not allowing the person to explain or elaborate on their answer only works if everything is black or white. An interview is supposed to be your shot to impress an employer and sometimes people leave an interview feeling like they weren’t even given the chance.
As a candidate there is a delicate line between saying too much and not enough. If giving short answers, make sure they are to the point but don’t come across abrupt or without thought. If a longer answer is required, choose your words carefully and effectively. Being too longwinded tends to not answer the question directly and stray off topic. I know that interviews are stressful for a lot of people, however, they really should not be. If a more conversational approach is applied to an interview it gives the opportunity for both sides to be engaged.