How much detail should I share about my experience when I’m interviewing?
This is a great question and it’s near the top of the list as to why hiring managers pass on candidates. Candidates don’t get the job because they either talk too much . . . or didn’t give enough detail when asked specific questions and talked too little.
I’ve seen this happen over many different consumer product companies, different hiring managers, over a variety of positions (sales, category management, and supply chain) and different levels (analyst positions up to VP level). No one seems to be immune.
So where is the fine line between sharing enough information, but not sharing too much? Before I answer this, you need to be aware of one very important perspective.
The CPG industry is analytical, and for most everyone, the analytical side of their brain is dominant over the creative side. Analytical people are by nature fact-based, so you want to stick the facts, don’t give them any fluff, and most importantly, don’t ramble. Make your point and move on, but don’t ever shortchange your answer. If you have good information that the hiring manager is asking for, be sure you address all the points of what’s being asked: no more, no less.
So how much do you need to share?
As you’re sharing details your experience, usually you’ll hit a point where you can continue giving more detail, or related information about your experience. If you’re not sure whether you should continue to go into further detail or if you should stop, the best thing you can do is simply ask the hiring manager and let him/her tell you.
“Would you like me to give you further details about ‘X,” or move on to ‘Y’ or ‘Z’?”
It really doesn’t matter what the hiring manager says. The answer they give will tell you exactly what you should do. You’re allowing them to guide you as to how much information you need to be sharing.
By allowing the hiring manager to steer you, you’ll be in sync with the amount of information the hiring manager is seeking. Finally, it will also give you a strong clue as to how much detail to share in the next question as well.