In a job interview it is easy to give the wrong answer. You can also get in the habit of checking to see if you gave the right answer. It can get you a job.
Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone? (Thurber)
What time is it? Wrong answer.
I swear that if I ask 10 people, “What time is it?”, that I will get at least one person who will tell me in infinite detail how to build a watch. Every day I talk to someone who answers the wrong question. And I can’t get the right answer no matter how hard I try!
Stop thinking of what you need and want all the time. Concentrate on what the person you are talking to needs to know. The man interviewing you needs to know how you will help him. The best way to show that is to listen to his questions and answer them simply.
After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover, it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed. (De La Lastra’s Last Law)
If you are asked, “How did you save your company money?”, you probably want to give a brief example. Don’t say, “I used time and motion studies. Under Deming and standard TQM it is SOP to…..” That’s too long and not at all specific. Say, “In one case we shortened a two hour process to 15 minutes by cutting out unnecessary steps. It saved $24,000 the first year.”
Any answer that takes more than two minutes in an interview is too long. If you think you may have talked too long, STOP. Ask if you have told them what they want to know. Then listen. Stop and listen.
What time is it? 7:25 a.m. It is time to go to work. Two good answers.
Something To Do Today
Just for the fun of it, when someone asks you, “What time is it?”, give them the answer and ask them why the need to know. You may be surprised at how little you knew of their motivation.