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Mastering the Interview: Balance Is Key

October 31, 2016 | Career Blog

You could spend all afternoon reading the “How-To’s,” “Do’s,” Don’t’s,” and “Never’s” of interviewing — the internet is full of tips, both helpful and not. But when it comes to mastering the interview — any interview — there are a few key skills you must understand and practice. Balance is one of them. Deftly balancing a few important aspect of an interview demonstrates your ability to effectively handle the various roles and tasks that you position in the company would require.

Speaking and Silence

  • An interview is a chance for the company representative to learn what it needs to know about you to see if you are a good fit. So you must speak up and thoroughly answer the questions that the interviewer asks.
  • On the other hand, talking too much — giving more information than asked for, going into detail regarding trivial points, referencing personal topics — gives the impression that you cannot prioritize and focus on what is important.

Negativity and Positivity

  • Let’s be honest, there are plenty of opportunities to discuss negative topics at an interview: why you are leaving your old job, what your weaknesses are, ways you failed in your old position, etc. Transparency is important, but it is also important to make even your negative points in a positive manner.
  • This is not license to lie or paint the world through rose-colored glasses — no one believes a person who is overly positive all of the time. Transparency with a positive emphasis shows that you are realistic but also committed to improvement.

Answering and Asking

  • It is always your role at an interview to answer all of the questions your interviewer asks. Admittedly, some with more detail than others, but at least acknowledge each question.
  • But at the end of the interview when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, the answer should always be yes. The more in-depth your question, the better, but even a simple “day in the life” question shows interest and forethought.


Balance is not a skill that you master overnight or with one interview. By taking steps toward balancing these three key areas, however, you are showing the interviewer — as soon as your next interview — that you are thorough, sensitive, committed, positive, and knowledgeable. Skills such as these are desirable in any position, but especially your dream job.

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