Career Calling

October 10, 2012

Listen – Don’t Script Answers to Interview Questions

A client stopped by to talk about interviewing.  He said that he didn’t feel confident or in control during interviews.  Then he mentioned something that caught my ear: scripting answers to interview questions, which I think is a horrible idea.

Scripts pretend that we can predict what questions will be asked.  What if the interviewer throws you a curve ball?  The script doesn’t work.  It’s a far better interviewing strategy to emphasize listening.  If we understand what the interviewer wants to know, it’s more likely that the answer will make sense and sound natural.  Rather than think of interviews as tests with questions and answers, think of them as controlled conversations.  Yes, you need to give good answers to questions, but they don’t have to be perfect.

Rather than scripting, I suggest using index cards to develop talking points that can be used for different purposes.  For example, a success story could show a person’s ability to lead or solve problems.  It’s easier to remember such “talking points.”  They can be used for different purposes.  Stay flexible.  Think of an interview as a conversation.  Most importantly, stop scripting.

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