I recently became unemployed after working steadily for 10+ years. Getting back into filling out applications and interviews, I found an interesting development that no one warned me about.

I found that interviewers no longer rely on their memory or hand written notes for your answers. Instead, they now want to fully document your answers by typing on a desktop or laptop. From the form-type questions, it’s obvious that they are typing into a form of open fields in their software. The problem is that these interviewers are not the highest echelon of typists. They are management, not court stenographers.

This had led to several awkward moments:

1. They cannot maintain the eye contact typical for a casual conversation because they have to keep looking back at their screen to get the next question and to find the field in which to type your answer.

2. They have to interrupt your answer and/or repeatedly ask you to slow down so they can keep up with you, using their hunt and peck style of typing.

3. They often will edit and massage your answers on the fly so that your responses will make more sense to them or anyone else reviewing the interview afterwards.

4. They get exasperated because speaking conversationally seems like rambling when compared to dictation, a wholly more efficient process.

My advice is to acclimate yourself to the overall soundbite-like environment of shorter attention spans that we all live in. While you may lose out on saying something you could say due to a smaller window of opportunity, overall I think you come off better if your interview has less of the awkward moments referred to above.

Interview questions may be specialized per industry but they are rarely creative. They usually involve asking for information that usually is not on your resume. A lot of how and why questions as opposed to what and where. Ex ‘Tell me about a time when you had to lead, found a creative solution, dealt with conflict, etc. How would you manage a deadline, handle an unfamiliar task, etc’

Take a second before answering to gather yourself, so you can accurately answer EXACTLY what they’re asking you. If necessary, repeat the question as a beginning to your answer.

Try to keep different scenarios from your past floating in your head for easy reference. Maybe you can limit the amount of ‘ummms’ and ‘uhhhs’ while your thinking.

And of particular importance, know when to shut the f#@* up! Actual rambling was bad enough before, now interviewers have to ask x amount of questions, times that by 100 applicants and a never-ending answer feels like a never-ending interview. These days, they need time after you stop speaking to enter your answer and hit enter.
Best of luck!

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