How long should interview answers be?

How long should interview answers be?

Knowing the correct answers to challenge and tricky interview questions are only winning half the battle. However, determining how long you should be answering can be difficult at times. It’s easy to get carried away when you know exactly what to say in response to a question, but How long should interview answers be?

Correctly answering questions is an excellent approach to set yourself apart from other candidates. While understanding certain components of it can be perplexing, a little practice and information can already put you ahead of the game. Don’t worry if you’re not sure how long your interview replies should be as How I Got My Job has come up with a list of proficiency nuggets to help you overcome this challenge during job interviews. 

Tips to Refer To

  1. Highlight important information- In order to distinguish yourself from other aspirants, it is important for you to highlight all your strengths, resources and what you have to offer to the company. One thing to remember while responding to any question is that you must emphasise your accomplishments and talents in order for the interviewers to notice you. It is crucial that you take some time to only stress upon your strong suits for the company while relating to the question. 
  1. Keep it crisp- Even though interviewers don’t have a time limit for the duration of your answers, it is preferred for you to keep it short and to the point. The answers should be up to the mark and your statements should be pertinent. Answering in paragraphs or taking too long can usually bore the interviewers and that is not a good sign. A concise response makes you look more confident and direct which is a characteristic that interviewers look for.
  2. Don’t stray away from the question- The length of an interview response is determined on the type of question. Basic/introductory questions should be answered in 30 to 90 seconds. Answering questions which are based on behaviour should take no more than 2 to 3 minutes. As you go longer, it gets hard to follow. A somewhat longer response is acceptable, but make sure you don’t bore the interviewer. 
  1. Give structure to your answer- While you are speaking, the duration of your answer obviously matters. But besides that, it is important for you to take account of the correct punctuations and tone. Make sure that while attempting to answer, your tone is quite confident and engaging. You must also be very careful when deciding whether to take a break. Pausing at the wrong time can give the impression of uneasiness to the interviewers, and it usually wastes your time.

Research and Rehearse

If you’ve done your research on the firm and the job description, answering job interview questions isn’t tough. Preparing responses to popular interview questions will help you avoid being agitated and rambling on about unimportant topics. Take your time responding to open-ended questions from a recruiter that don’t have simple yes or no answers.

Linking Answers and Durations

In most cases, you can answer an interview question in 60 seconds or less. If the interviewer feels like more information needs to be provided or your answer needs elaboration, he can ask a follow-up question or direct you to provide more information. It is necessary for the interviewer to indulge in the verbatim by asking more questions or commenting on your response. Quick verbal exchanges keep the conversation flowing smoothly and allow you and the interviewer to get to know one another. Because of the sixty-second answers, the employers don’t feel rushed and tend to ask all of their questions or doubts during the interview.

In most cases, interview questions with answers involving facts can be answered in under a minute. You can usually answer in less than 60 seconds if the interviewer asks about your educational degrees, projects you’ve undertaken, work experience, certifications, or specific abilities. Short, fluent responses are better for presenting accurate details. Talk in full sentences and clearly answer the questions, avoiding tangents that are unrelated to the question.

Grouping Honors and Achievements 

Organize your achievements into three to five categories and create a 60 to 90-second commercial to talk about them. For example, you may emphasize interpersonal abilities that helped you in team management, high-quality projects you completed with the satisfaction of customers, workplace problem-solving techniques, or technical skills that helped you solve a complex assignment. If you don’t think you’ll be able to provide a thorough interview answer in 60 seconds, aim for 90 seconds. Some behavioral inquiries, such as outlining how you would handle a challenging scenario with a co-worker or how you would contribute to a team effort, necessitate more in-depth explanations and analysis. 

How Long Should Opening Answers Be?

Many hiring managers begin with the question, “Tell me about yourself.” This open-ended question could take 90-120 seconds to answer. T This provides you the opportunity to introduce yourself, where you are from, what schools you attended, your job experience, your leadership qualities, why you are interested in the job or position, and what first drew you to the industry. Don’t feel compelled to give an answer for a whole couple of minutes but ensure your answer isn’t abrupt or impersonal. Anything you say may stimulate the interest of the interviewer and lead to further questions.

A Basic Blueprint

Depending on the circumstances, there are two possible ways to answers this question:

  1. Get straight to the point- This is good at the start of the interview when the interviewer is looking for a few basic facts that they can jot down; you can elaborate more later if they show interest. For example, if your interviewer asks you to speak quickly about your previous experience, you should choose one and describe your role, the challenge, the solution the team devised, the technology/platform used, and so on. You can dive deeper if they wish to understand more about specifics.
  2. Layout the backstory and conclusion– This is more suitable for more targeted questions like asking you about a technical challenge you faced while doing XYZ project. Use the acronym S-A-R (Situation, Action, and Response) to organise your responses. That is, you should begin by describing the scenario, then explain your actions, and lastly, describe the outcome.

Summarizing and Wrapping Up

Summarize and return to the original question. This is especially useful if you have a propensity to ramble, as it demonstrates that you were entirely focused on addressing the question. You can use statements like, “Getting back to the question” or “As you were asking” to sum your answer up and recapping the whole response in a single statement.

Finally, to add your own spice, you can try sending some of your responses with your own questions. And, the best part is, you are likely to make a better impression and establish a stronger relationship with your interviewer as it would come off as a smooth and easy conversation to them rather than a question and answer session.

Now that you know how to conclude an interview response, it’s a good idea to practice it a few times prior to the actual occasion. The objective is that you should be able to use these general guidelines even if you’ve never heard of the question before, although, like with anything else connected to interviews, a little practice never hurts.


There is no definite answer to this question. Usually, the response time will vary depending on the style of the question and if the interviewer wants you to summarise important points or expound on a situation. However, you should avoid stretching your answer and attempt to respond in under 3.5 minutes, as the interviewer will not be able to pay attention for long. Finally, a quality response is always preferable to a timely response. If your comments are well-thought-out, acceptable, and relevant, it doesn’t hurt to prolong the interview out. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How long should I think about my interview question before giving an answer?
    Interviews are conducted in order to learn more about a person in a short period of time. As a result, the questions would be specifically crafted to gain a rapid, clever, and crisp grasp of the person’s background, abilities, and talents. Given the foregoing context, if you are asked a question, you can spend a few seconds to consider it before responding. You should not procrastinate your response to the point where the interviewer loses interest. At the same time, you should not attempt to fill in the blanks without any prior knowledge of the solution. 

    Some people interrogate the interviewer to learn more about the subject, and while they are doing so, they begin to ponder and come up with a response while others start answering slowly and keep their minds busy trying to come up with a response.
  1. How do I answer a question I don’t know in an interview?
    Difficult and tricky questions that you usually don’t know the answer of, are asked to understand how you handle pressure. At the very least, you should answer the question honestly but confidently. Here, confidently suggests that you are confident in your ability to figure out the solution if it is required for the work. Because if you follow the same pattern as everyone else and give a clichéd answer, it won’t assist you much. Usually, you can go about and ask the interviewer to elaborate the question and help you in better understanding so that you can figure out the answer yourself or relate it to some project you have done in the past.
  1. What should I do to think of an answer quickly in an interview?
    Understand the subject. That is, consider what questions an interviewer would ask you and how you would respond. Take your time and make sure your reaction is genuine and not a quip. Make sure your replies are consistent with the rest of your responses. And the best way to do so is knowing your own experiences, successes, and struggles. It also helps to see how each of these scenarios and experiences may be turned around to fit other situations like a time you worked in a team or a time you had to cope with a challenging situation.
How long should interview answers be?

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