How Many Times Should You Repeat Yourself?

I’ve talked to literally thousands of candidates after they’ve interviewed. I get their fresh, firsthand account of how things went, what their impressions were, and what good or bad news they expect to receive next. I get their excitement, their joy, their skepticism, their frustration. I get their complaints and compliments about interviewers, questions, and facilities, all within minutes of leaving an interview.

One such complaint I heard recently from a candidate went like this. “Each of the interviewers asked the same questions, so it was a little redundant.” I’m sure you, the job seeker, have been there before. How many times should you repeat yourself in various interviews? After all, you interview with multiple people at different times, and therefore, there is a bit of an overlap in the questions you are asked.

At first, I empathized with the candidate’s complaint. That would be a little annoying to have ~3 different managers ask the same question in succession. After a little more analysis, though, I thought this could be a good teaching lesson. Obviously, the interviewers didn’t know for sure what the other interviewers were asking. Or possibly, they were asking the same questions ON PURPOSE, in order to gauge the consistency of the candidate.

“Interview selection is more about how the interviewer feels about you than about how well you can do the job,” says USNews.com. “That is not to say that you don’t need to be qualified – you do need to be in the ballpark. However, many highly qualified people get rejected because they do not clearly convey how they are an ideal (and likeable) match for the role. While it is important to display your business qualifications, it is even more important to create the right impression”–even if it means answering the same question several times!

How many times should you repeat yourself? Based on this experience, I believe the best way for candidates to handle the variety of questions, even repeat questions, is to answer every question as though it were the first time you were answering it. Give the same thought, tact, vigor, and enthusiasm every time you are asked a question. Don’t mail in your answer just because a hiring manager asked that same question one week, one day, or one hour ago.

Candidates, do we have the most current version of your resume? If not, click here to post it, and visit our job board while you’re at it! You or a friend might be a good fit for one of our open positions.

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