In an interview… know when to shut your mouth!

Have you ever been in an interview and the person answering the question (maybe it was you) does not know when to shut up? It is very uncomfortable when candidate rambles on. You can feel the air leave the room as the interviewer shifts in his chair and rolls his eyes. You know the type; the interviewer asks what time it as and the person tells them how to build a clock.

There is no easier way to blow an interview. If you want to avoid this mistake, know when to shut up!  Now this may sound like a simple piece of advice, but it is more problematic than you think. Even people who aren’t prone to rambling on fall into this trap when they continue talking in an effort to give the interviewer the answer he wants.

I had the opportunity to participate in an interview this week, and the very sharp young man talked for an extra five minutes coming up with examples of things he did that he thought were relevant.  The more he talked, the more he got himself into trouble. If your answer is more than thirty seconds you are likely rambling on!

The best way to avoid this trap is to answer the question in thirty seconds or less, then pause and ask the interviewer, “Have I answered your question?” or “Am I giving you what you need?” or “Am I on the right track” or “Is that enough detail?”

Concise answers are the hallmark of good interviewer.  Practice the night before the interview. Ask yourself to describe your proudest accomplishment and do it in thirty seconds or less.  A practiced answer is the one most often done concisely.  Be prepared to discuss two or three important things you have accomplished.  Give it your best but know when to shut your mouth!


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