Today’s Washington Post has an amusing but quite serious tip sheet for those facing Senate confirmation hearings, but Tom Korologus, an expert on this esoteric topic. Here’s the best advice he offers:
Remember that most of the hearing will be more about the questioners than about you. Prepare a short opening statement — no more than five minutes — outlining the president’s goals and your goals for the department. Submit a longer “think piece” for the record….
Hearings can be judged by the 80-20 rule. If the senators are speaking 80 percent of the time, you’re doing fine. If it’s 60-40, you are arguing with them. If it’s 50-50, you’ve blown it.
That rule obviously can’t apply to those nominees who are themselves senators, but otherwise, it’s a good rule of thumb.