Use every minute wisely
Use every minute wisely in interviews

Use every minute wisely

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

By Fintan Dunne, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers

Fintan Dunne, Career Coach, Sligo office
094 954 2965

A question that regularly crops up in interview training is the question that panels often ask at the end of the interview itself: ‘Have you got any question for us?, writes Fintan Dunne, career coach, Sli Nua Careers.

Interview panels

I am regularly in touch with people who sit on interview panels to learn about their expectations on the ‘other’ side of the table. Recently, I put this very question to an interviewer who works for a state organisation. Here’s his reply:

Ask a question

“The worst thing to say is ‘no, thank you, I don’t’ and just leave it at that – you need to use the time better than that. You could ask ‘is there anything I could have added or were there any gaps in my answers that would have improved my interview? Is there anything you’d like me to elaborate on?’

“This may invite another question and get you scoring points again. Every minute in an interview should be used wisely.

Use every minute wisely

“Or you may decide to forego the opportunity to ask a question but, instead, use the available time to mention a competency or experience that you feel will interest them but hasn’t been covered up to this point. ’I would like to explain a little about my experience in…or my competency at…’ and take it from there. Be sure and use every minute wisely.

Closing minutes

“The closing minutes of the interview are a good time to leave a strong statement about your suitability for the role.”

While we were discussing interviews, he also made other key points. I reproduce them here:

“In today’s application forms and competency-based interviews, it is better to have a second example of the competency required rather than relying on the one submitted in the original application form. The board are familiar with the one submitted and may wish to hear a second one.


“In interviews, candidates are often asked to deliver a presentation at the start, this to last no more than [so many] minutes. It is very important you prepare for this properly and have a start, middle and end. Don’t wing it. Prepare it, rehearse it, and become totally familiar with it. What you know of the organisation, familiarity with the job for which you have applied, presentation and timing skills are being looked at. A hiccup here will not get you off to a good start.

Curve ball

“Always be ready for a curve ball. They are often in there deliberately to test your reactions and ability to think on the spot.

“Finally, when you are turning up for your interview, be early. If the board is ready they may bring you in, so arrive in plenty of time. Being late is the kiss of death for your interview, obviously: if you do get a puncture or the tailbacks are chaotically bad, contact the interview centre immediately to let them know.

Paddle your own canoe

“When the inteview is over do not discuss the interview or questions with waiting candidates. It would be strange if you want them to get the job ahead of you. As the saying goes, paddle your own canoe. There are many times and places when you should be cooperative and generous. You are now in the middle of a competitive arena and you don’t really want to hand a crucial advantage to your opponent. Mind you, neither should you come out of the interview room and give them a false steer: simply keep moving and leave the building.”

You can read more from Fintan HERE

Fintan Dunne is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers in Sligo.

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