Can you repeat the question?

Picture the scene. You are being interviewed for your dream job by a panel of three or four interviewers. The Chairperson of the panel opens the proceedings and introduces the rest of the panel. The first interviewer asks you a fairly straightforward “Talk me through your CV” type question. You get through that one ok. So far, so good.
Then the next interviewer, perhaps in an attempt to impress their co-interviewers, proceeds to ask you a long-winded question that seems to go on for about 6 lines and has several mini questions held within the main question. Panic.
Which bit should I answer?
Why are they asking this question?

What competency are they testing?
What was the question again?
Confusion takes over.  All of your interview preparation has gone out the window and he only thing you are now thinking is “Who am I and why am I here?”
It’s ok to say you don’t fully understand what they are asking
Most of my interview training clients are surprised when I tell them that it is ok to look for clarification on interview questions if they are unsure of what is being asked.  How can you do a good job of answering a question if you don’t know exactly what they are asking? So next time you are hit with one of those ridiculously complex interview questions don’t just answer what you think they may be asking.  Take control of your interview.   Turn the tables by using these clarification phrases (and buy yourself some valuable thinking time in the process):

  • Could you repeat the question?
  • So if I understand this correctly what you are asking me is……..
  • I didn’t quite grasp what you are asking – would you mind rephrasing the question?
  • So you are looking for an example of a time when I showed XXXX – let me think….

We provide Interview Training to ensure you maximise your chances of securing the job at interview.

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