Interviews: Avoid getting tongue-tied


Miss Utah (Photo credit: Miss USA pageant)

I’m sure many of us have had a Miss Utah moment when we’re at a job interview: we get asked a question we’re unsure how to answer, so we hesitate and sputter until we finally spout off a incoherent stream of words that makes us seem to our interviewers like we’re total idiots.

But we’re not idiots. We were just asked a question that we weren’t prepared to answer. But since we were put on the spot, we had to give some sort of reply because we couldn’t just sit there silently.

There’s no way for us to know exactly what questions we’ll be asked in a job interview (unless the interviewer sends us some sort of cheat-sheet beforehand), but the following article covers ways for us to prevent being tongue-tied in job interviews:

Tongue-tied in Job Interviews? 5 Suggestions for Recent Grads (

I’m sure we’ve had teachers, friends, or relatives who tell us these rambling, long-winded anecdotes, and while we sit there and nod politely at them, we’re thinking, “Is this ever gonna end?” or “GET TO THE FREAKING POINT ALREADY!”

We never like it when others subject us to this torment, so we certainly don’t want to put our interviewers through it. That’s why I appreciated this tip:

Beware of the “ramble.” Often grads tell me they struggle with this part. Keep the purpose of your answer clear. Have a concise beginning, middle, and end to your response. That will keep you from rambling.

Of course, it’s much easier to answer a question effectively when you’ve anticipated it. So what should you do when you get a question that you’re unprepared for?

Clarify. “When you use the term resources are you referring to people, funding, or something else?”

Rephrase: “So, I just want to be sure I understand your question. You want to know how I would use resources — meaning funding — to improve customer satisfaction.” Repeat what you heard, and wait for clarification

And finally, when it comes to interviews, practice makes perfect:

In a recent survey 86% said the biggest mistake they made in an interview was not preparing. Preparing beforehand, practicing with others, and recording yourself will help you smooth out any interview bumps you may encounter when the actual day arrives.

Then stay focused and on task in your responses and you’ll leave with no regrets!

About David

I'm an aspiring writer and filmmaker in my twenties. I also run a blog where twenty-somethings share their stories and advice on beginning a career in this economy. Check it out at

Posted on July 1, 2013, in News & views and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: