Why you should (and shouldn't) memorise interview answers

Wondering if you should memorise your interview answers? Our article breaks down the pros and cons of doing so.

When preparing for a job interview, you may be wondering if it's worth it to memorize your answers to common interview questions. On one hand, it could potentially give you more confidence and help you avoid awkward pauses during the conversation. On the other hand, it might make you sound robotic and lack authenticity.

So, should you or shouldn't you memorize your answers? Well, that's what we're here to discuss! (We'll also throw in a few tips and tricks for those who do decide to memorize their responses.) Let's dive in and explore the pros and cons of memorizing interview answers.

The Benefits of Memorizing Interview Answers

Memorizing your answers can help you feel more confident in your responses. When you know what you're going to say, you're less likely to get flustered or lean into your predisposed nervous habits. This can help you come across as more poised and professional, which is especially important during a job interview. Additionally, memorizing your answers can help you avoid awkward pauses or hesitation. This can make the conversation flow more smoothly, which can be especially helpful if you're someone who tends to get nervous in high-pressure situations (side tip: get a friend to guide you out of nervousness).

The Risks of Memorizing Interview Answers

While memorizing your answers can certainly have its benefits, it can also be risky. One of the main risks is that you might come across as robotic or inauthentic. A scripted compliment can become a misconstrued impression, whereas your experience may become less believeable. If you're reciting memorized responses, it can be difficult to maintain eye contact or appear genuinely interested in the conversation. This can make you seem less genuine and potentially hurt your chances of landing the job.

Additionally, memorizing your answers can be risky if you're asked a question that you didn't prepare for. If you're relying on memorized responses, you might struggle to come up with a genuine, on-the-spot answer.

Tips for Memorizing Interview Answers

If you do decide to memorize your answers, there are a few things you can do to make the process more effective. First, be sure to practice your responses out loud as part of going through the entire mock interview flow. This can help you get a feel for how your answers will sound and give you a chance to make any necessary adjustments.

Additionally, try to avoid memorizing your responses verbatim (i.e. exactly, word for word). Instead, aim to memorize key points or themes that you want to convey. Use bulleted points; memorise the general ideas and expand on these ideas real time during the interview. This can help you sound more natural and authentic.

Finally, be sure to practice with a friend or family member so you can get feedback on your responses and make any necessary adjustments. Rememeber that as you practice mock runs with someone else, you should ask for space to internalise their feedback. This space gives you capacity to incorporate their work before you are made to enter the actual interview on your own, since you can't have their help in the real thing.

Alternatives to Memorizing Interview Answers

If you're not comfortable with the idea of memorizing your answers, there are alternative strategies you can use to prepare for your interview. One option is to practice answering common interview questions and reciting them out loud, without necessarily memorizing your responses. This can help you get more comfortable speaking about your skills and experience and can also help you avoid awkward pauses or hesitation.

Ask for help from your existing formal-work network, and ask them about specific interview tips; "Oh how is the interview at so-and-so company going to be like?" - use the benefits of your network to further your career. Most people are more than willing to help you (they'll eventually expect a favour from you later on though!)

Another option is to research the interviewing company and come up with specific examples of how your skills and experience align with their needs. This can help you come across as knowledgeable and well-prepared, even if you're not reciting memorized responses.

The Importance of Being Authentic

Ultimately, the most important thing during a job interview is to be authentic. While it's important to come across as knowledgeable and prepared, it's equally important to be genuine and sincere. If you're not comfortable with the idea of memorizing your answers, it's better to present an honest and authentic image than to try to recite memorized responses. By being yourself, you'll be more likely to make a genuine connection with your interviewer and stand out as a unique and qualified candidate.

The Bottom Line

So, should you or shouldn't you memorize your interview answers? The answer isn't necessarily cut and dry. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and it ultimately comes down to your personal style and comfort level.

If you do decide to memorize your answers, be sure to practice and make adjustments as needed. And if you decide not to memorize your answers, focus on being authentic and well-prepared by researching the company and practicing your responses out loud. In either case, the most important thing is to be genuine and sincere during your interview.

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