Rambling at interview is where candidates stray from the original intent of the question posed by the interviewer making it difficult for them to decipher examples of where the candidate is demonstrating their competence.
In addressing this very common challenge, it is important to seek to understand firstly why we tend to ramble. It is only by reviewing our individual past performance at interviews that we can unpack this but from deciphering this with the clients I work with it is usually attributed to lack of preparation, lack of practice (of answers to common questions) and/or no clear answering framework.
If rambling is an interview challenge that is common for you, here are a few strategies to help you manage this going forward:
- Research: Key strategies and policies which underpin the role are usually outlined in candidate information; it is important to research these and be clear on their purpose and how they relate to the role you are applying for
- Practice: For competency based roles in particular, competencies are described in great detail, try mapping a scenario you have which demonstrates your competency in this area and then practice giving a sample answer
- Answer Frameworks: Once you have devised a scenario which demonstrates your competence, use a framework such as the STAR (situation, task, action and result) method to present your answer
- Focus: Become more aware of the length of your answers and review how you can answer questions in a clear and succinct manner in the time available.
Finding strategies to lessen rambling at interview can help interview candidates to highlight their qualifications, demonstrate their competence and create a positive impression on interview boards.