Interview Questions – How Long Should Your Answers Be?
Hmm… That’s a great question.
Should you keep answers to your interview questions short and to the point? Maybe your answers should be as detailed as possible? Or should they be somewhere in between?
As a rule of thumb please keep this in mind. When an interviewer asks you a question, she’s usually just asking you what time it is. She’s not asking you to explain how a watch is made. Because if she’s looking for a detailed answer she will ask for it.
Now you might be thinking but what if my answer is too short? What if she really wants a detailed answer and didn’t ask for it? How can I be sure that I’m making the right choice?
Simple, answer her questions using the CPR Method
What’s the CPR Method? Challenge, Plan, Result.
By using this method to answer your interviewer’s questions, you will ensure that all your answers are detailed enough without being too long winded. There’s nothing worse than watching someone’s eyes glaze over when you’re speaking with them. Especially during an interview.
Challenge. What was the challenge you were facing and how did it happen? Could it have been avoided or was it something unexpected that came up? Basically, tell the interviewer that you had XYZ problem to overcome while you were working at ABC company.
Plan. What was the plan of action you came up with? Meaning, after investigating the challenge XYZ you decided to solve the problem by put putting plan DEF into action. In other words, state the plan of action you used to solve the challenge.
Result. What result did you get once you completed your plan of action? Was it what you expected? Tell the interviewer that when you completed plan DEF you got GHI result.
After using the CPR method, you still may not have answered the interviewer’s question with all the details that she was looking for. But you really don’t need to worry about that too much. Why? Because right now you need to be listening carefully to her next question.
She will either ask you to expand upon the answer you just gave her or ask a new question. Both are great results for you.
With the ground work you’ve already put in place, stating a more complete answer won’t be too difficult. And being asked a new question moves your interview forward.
Try the CPR Method for yourself. And stop worrying about how long your answers should be.