How long is too long?

“I don’t know how to decide.  I don’t want to make it too long, but also it is important for it not to be too short”…

This is what I heard from a client this morning.  And she was not talking about a piece of string!

In fact, she was concerned about how to answer an interview question, and to make the answer the “right” length…

I then proceeded to spend about twenty minutes, answering HER question in as many ways I could…  because there IS not just one right answer, in a general sense!

If your interview is on a digital platform, and you are recording it without  any human presence, then almost certainly there is an explicit instruction about how long your answer should be.  This is typically somewhere between 60 seconds and 180 seconds – otherwise known as 1-3 minutes!  With this instruction, obviously you have a constraint beyond which you cannot go.  However, what happens if you don’t have enough to fill all that time?  Well, it is pretty simple…  As an ABSOLUTE minimum, you must fill 50.1% of the time.  Less than that will just seem insulting and lazy.  Ideally, you do something between 2/3 of the time and the full time.  And this is the easiest answer to tackle.

If you are talking in your interview to a “real” person, whether by phone, Skype or even, as is becoming rarer and rarer, face-to-face, you will need to bear in mind so many other things.  You will need to “read” the situation.  You will also have to ensure that you are getting the reception you hope for as you speak.  So much to do, while also managing the content and the tone of what you are saying!

There will be future articles about this complex question, in which you can learn more, and dig deeper into the psychology of satisfying the interviewer in the most wonderful way!

Meantime, you can practise away, crafting your approach in the best way possible.

Don’t forget!  Interview skills are important to both university application AND graduate job applications.  And of course internship applications!  This is something you truly need to get right!

BecomingGlobal will support you every step of the way!