Job Interviews can be daunting for most of us. The interviewer is trying to understand you, test you, and judge you. On the other hand, you are playing out full to prove that you are the right candidate for the role offered. It can feel like dancing on a rope when just keeping your balance is a tough challenge!
In many ways, you start this tightrope walk with simple initial interview questions like “Tell me about yourself”. But as you move on, the interviewers will try to make you dance to his moves. They will ask questions that can at times challenge you or even unsettle you!
And while this dance is happening, both you and your interviewer are trying to understand, why you are the best fit for the job!
Whether you are a fresher or an experienced professional, you are appreciated for your analytical skills and clarity during any interview. And if you show mastery in your expression, you will have an edge over hundreds of other applicants!
Why it is difficult to explain yourself clearly during interviews?
Now you may be wondering, “When I am so clear and fluent in my day-to-day conversations, why does it become so challenging to express myself clearly in the interviews?”
It is a great question to ask yourself. Because it will open you up to study and understand yourself as well as the interview environment more deeply.
If you are a fresher, this may be your first time facing an interview. Or you may have faced very few interviews in life.
If you are an experienced professional, you may have observed that during interviews there are specific situations or questions, where you tend to fumble a bit. Or you find it tough to explain yourself fluently.
Such scenarios can make you subtly perturbed or anxious, even before the interview. And during the interview, it may put you off balance. End of the day, the feeling you get is that of being stuck!
Especially during interviews, you want to be at the top of your game. Else, it may dearly cost you your coveted career opportunity.
So, understanding the reasons behind your difficulty in explaining yourself is important when you prepare for interviews!
9 Reasons Why It Is Challenging to Explain Yourself in an Interview Clearly
- Interviews are not your “usual” environment. You face them once in a while in a year or 2. This means interviews are “special situations” in your life. Naturally, you are not prepared for them by default.
- Interviews are meant to open you up in ways that daily conversations will not! This can be discomforting at times.
- Interviewers always ask a set of questions, that are deliberately crafted to get you out of your comfort zone. They make you ponder on things, that you usually will not think about.
- If you carefully study frequently asked interview questions, you will know that these are not the questions that you get asked in day-to-day life.
- During the interviews, the interviewers are constantly trying to judge you. None of us fundamentally likes being judged. It is a built-in emotional hard wiring for almost all of us.
- Interviewers will frequently want you to talk about your skills, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and tough situations you have faced. All of them are difficult and sometimes stressful to explain. Plus, they will never stop at your first answer. They will tend to probe you further when you explain yourself. The deeper interviewers probe your answers, the more difficult it gets to express yourself fluently!
- Interviewees and interviewers can have different perceptions about the topics and situations discussed during the interview. Both will want to challenge each other. The interviewer is trying to measure the candidate on various parameters. The job applicants are trying to prove themselves as a worthy candidate. This creates a tussle!
- Many times, the personalities of job applicants and interviewers may not have a natural alignment. This can create a certain pressure in the interview.
- Interviewers generally have a packed schedule with a ton of deliverables on their plate. This creates a certain rush. So as an interviewer, you have to talk about difficult topics or situations rather crisply! There tends to be an added pressure of using fewer words. Otherwise, you may just create a lousy impression on the interviewer.
All of this, added to your own challenges related to communication make interviews an especially tough spot to be in!
9 Interview Questions that make it Tough to Explain Yourself in an Interview
So, before we get into the thumb rules that can help you express yourself fluently and with clarity to interviewers, let us look at a few tricky interview questions.
These questions by design are asked in the interviews to shake you, stir you and open the real you up to the interviewers.
Here we go …
This throws you off a bit cause you may have to think about something that you didn’t think about before. It can be asked at the start or in the middle of the interview.
This can put you in stressful confusion, because you may already be under pressure in the interview environment. And then they are making you talk about your biggest fear!
Generically preparing for this will not help. Most candidates talk about the same set of fears. So, the challenge is in being genuine, embrace your vulnerability, and opening up about yourself which kind of shows your ability to dare to the interviewers.
You may feel that the interviewer is challenging you with this question. And you ideally want to explain how you bring different or higher value to the company compared to the other applicants. Naturally, you need to be very careful when delivering your answer.
A similar question, albeit it feels more direct challenge thrown at you by the interviewer.
Interviewers are well aware of the generic and common answers most candidates will give to this question.
Plus, in your answer, you will need to open up about some really stressful situations you faced. This can make interviewers get into topics or things you ideally want to stay away from during the interview.
The key is to be relevant to the job opening and be honest in your answer.
You are just interviewing. You do not know if you will be hired and what you will be offered. But the interviewer is trying to guage your commitment upfront!
This can feel daunting. The challenge is to find words that are honest and pragmatic at the same time. And, you also want to come across someone who doesn’t believe in job-hopping!
It is natural to feel uncomfortable answering this.
No one likes criticism. Many of us are in a defensive mindset even before hearing the feedback.
So, when answering this you have many angles to cover. They include talking about your areas of improvement, difficult situations you faced, you falling short in the task at hand, and most importantly showing what you really did with the feedback given to you!
Your innate braveness and hunger to learn is fundamentally tested with this question.
You are trying to show that you are strong and capable. But the interviewer is poking around to find out where you are weak!
Then the fear of – what if my weakness becomes a roadblock in me getting this job!
You are naturally in a tough situation. And it will make you fumble in your response at times.
Again, the interviewer is directly challenging you for many reasons.
You want to carefully think about the skills and strengths that uniquely position you for the job. When you don’t know who else is applying for the job, this question can be a tough nut to crack.
These questions can give you a feel of what may put you in a situation during interviews, that makes it hard for you to explain yourself clearly!
3 Powerful Tactics you can use to Clearly Explain yourself in an Interview
Time to look at overcoming this obstacle in your communication during interviews.
Let us look at the 3 important methods which you can use to explain yourself clearly in almost any conversation you.
These ideas are simple to understand and can be easy to implement in your conversations too.
1. Stick to the Rule of 3
Have you ever wondered why most advertisements or offers tell you the 3 key benefits or give you 3 awesome bonuses?
For most of the products, one can easily show you tens of benefits with a little bit of creativity. But a good salesperson will never do it!
The reason behind this comes from research done in 1950. We remember most things in chunks. This is why our mobile numbers are shared in 3 chunks of digits.
Adults can clearly remember 5 to 7 points or chunks at max in their short-term memory. This part of memory is fragile.
But, if you bring up only 3 topics or points, it becomes incredibly easy for anyone to remember them first. And then they can quickly think about those points too!
The core idea is not to overwhelm the interviewer with a ton of details or points especially when you are discussing something difficult to understand for you as well as them.
Remember, the interviewers are short of time and can be in hurry. But you want to say things that will stick in their mind.
2. Bring up 3 different stories or examples
You may have experienced, what your teachers did for you when they had to explain a difficult concept in class. Have you seen how many examples or stories or questions they use?
You must have done a dozen of examples of each concept that you ever learned in mathematics or different sciences.
And you must have tried to explain something difficult to your close friend in your life. Do you remember what you did at that time? Mostly you tried finding many ways to talk about the same point.
In all of this, there is a pattern. If you want someone to learn something new that can be tough to understand, you want to explore different ways of putting it across to that person.
One of the ways quickly connects with him or her. And like a lightbulb switching on, that person gets you in no time!
3. Repeat, Repeat and Repeat
Repeat the main points 2 to 3 times during the conversation.
This seems to be a piece of advice to make your conversation boring and hamper its quality. But it is not!
Remember, we are talking about times when you are finding it difficult to explain yourself. This also means the interviewer is finding it hard to understand you!
So, when you are already using multiple ways or pointers to explain the central question, repeating those key points 2 to 3 times can make the stick in the interviewer’s mind.
This also ensures that the focus remains where it needs to be – on the points that matter!
By now, you are clear that you are going to be challenged during the interviews. Because interviewers need to do it to open you up!
What you want is to remain clear, fluent, and easy to understand.
Implement these 3 critical tips in your day-to-day conversations first. This will ensure that when you need to focus on the questions in the interview, you are not additionally stressed and distracted by the difficulty to put your points together!
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