Answer the question you were asked. Seems relatively straight forward, but in my experience, many candidates can’t seem to nail down this part of the interview. This skill is important to master, not doing so has the potential to hold back a perfectly qualified individual.
Very often I will ask a candidate a question, only to receive a long-winded, complicated, tangential answer which more often than not does not answer the original question. This presents an issue because a) it comes off as if you didn’t listen to the question or b) you are trying to obscure something else that might be the real answer. These are both pretty negative impressions to make on a hiring manager so you want to avoid both at all costs!
The best advice I can give you is:
Really listen to the question that is being asked of you, if you didn’t catch it the first time, it is better to ask the interviewer to repeat the question, than to guess at what they asked you and end up not actually answering the question.
Speak with intention. Be as concise as possible, at the same time as using the most meaningful and impactful language and formulations for your answers.
Be honest, but that doesn’t mean you need to share EVERYTHING, only share what will work in your favor of positioning yourself as a desirable candidate.
The last point that I made above about honesty is important. Never lie about experience or salary, but there is such a thing as being too honest. A hiring manager doesn’t need to know too many details about your personal life, they want to know why you want to work for them, and you should only share the motivations that involve your interest in their company and your career growth ambitions.
To sum up, short, sweet and to the point is the golden rule for answering the question you have been asked! Take your time to figure out what information the hiring manager is asking for, and answer honestly and eloquently. Now you can go and rock that interview!