A while back I found a UX designer that helped JibberJobber get cleaned up and become more intuitive. In our early conversations he said that he would probably end up taking out more stuff (links, icons, words, etc.) and not add much new stuff.
In a later conversation we were talking about a certain page, and he said that on that page there were too many choices the user had to make. Each form to fill out is a choice, and there were too many fields on the form.
Right now I’m spending time with my developers cleaning up and making more intuitive (= easier to use) a certain page in JibberJobber. It’s the page where you add a new Contact. Right now it’s a big old form, with all the fields you could possible want to add. What we are doing is, instead of adding more descriptions and “do this next” suggestions, we’re taking things away.
Don’t worry, you’ll still have all the functionality and options you have had, but at first glance, we are only leaving up the most important, most relevant things…. with the option to add/open the other fields.
This process is making me think about how we, as professionals, humans and job seekers, present ourselves.
When I was in my job search I wanted to put everything on my resume, and mention pretty much everything I could in my interviews. I wanted to communicate the awesome breadth and depth of who I was, so you could clearly see that I was the best person for you to hire.
In all of this over communication, I was burying the most compelling reasons for companies to hire me. Burying means it was hard for the listener to pick out the information they should have easily figured out… but instead, it was like I was playing a game of hide and seek with my information. It was a lose-lose scenario.
Are you doing the same thing? When someone asks you a question, are you giving them too much information? Like this?
Interviewer: “Why do you think you would be the best person for this Quality Assurance job?”
You: “Because I’m really good at quality assurance, since I’ve been doing it for fifteen years. And, I like to breed snakes. Snakes are very particular animals, and to successfully mate them you really have to know what you are doing… it’s not just anyone who is good at getting two snakes to mate. I make sure the mood is right, the humidity is just right, and even put on some romantic jungle music. I also like to restore old cars, when my snakes aren’t mating.”
Okay, what the heck just happened here? If you are a job seeker you’re shaking your head saying “oh my gosh, what a complete idiot! I would NEVER do that!” But if you have interviewed a lot of people, you are probably thinking “I’ve got a story that’s worse than that!”
My point isn’t to dissuade you from talking about mating snakes (although, really, don’t talk about that unless it is a job about mating snakes!)… my point is to listen to yourself and how you are responding. What is the question, and are you answering it? After you answer it, are you adding more information that is just confusing, misleading, or distracting?
This concept applies to all of your communications: interviews, informational interviews, networking, written (resume, LinkedIn, etc.).
What can you do to stay on task, and keep from distracting your audience?