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Back to Blog November 26, 2013

No Waffle

Do you spend more time talking, rather than listening in job interviews?

A common mistake people tend to make in interviews is to talk…talk…and talk…until the interviewer probably knows your life story. Interviewing experts say that the most effective and efficient interviews are in fact those in which the interviewer talks only 25% of the time!

Whether it’s down to nerves or maybe you were born with the ‘gift of the gab’, it is easy to talk yourself out of a job during the interview. Many people talk too much when they want to be believed. A job interview is a classic example where your faith in yourself is being challenged, as you try to sell yourself under pressure to your potential employer. It is also easy to talk too much when you are excited about a topic or a question about yourself – but it is just as easy to overshare, which can instantly put employers off. Another reason people over talk, is that they’re not sure of the point of a question. So they cover all bases.

Person Annoyed by Others Talking

What should you do then? We have compiled some useful tips to help you overcome this problem:

1) The 2 S’s : be SPECIFIC and SUCCINCT
Give short answers and get straight to the point! But don’t give basic ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers either. The challenge for you is to ensure you answer fully, but you don’t want to waffle or spend too much time just describing the task.
A good way to structure your answer is to use the well-known STAR model:
• Briefly describe the Situation or background to your example
• Explain the Task or activity
• Outline the Action you took
• Summarise the Result

2) Do NOT overshare
Be relevant! You should be doing most of the talking, but don’t waffle on with irrelevant detail, don’t talk so much they can’t get any questions in, and, whatever you do, don’t start criticising former employers or colleagues. No matter how nice or casual your interviewer may be, an interview is a professional situation – not a personal one.

3) CLARIFY
Another reason people over talk, is that they’re not sure of the point of a question. So they cover all bases. If you don’t understand a question, clarify it, even if you do need a few moments to collect your thoughts. After all, it is better to ask the interviewer to repeat the question and give a good, confident answer rather than waffle on about something unrelated. You could even practice answers to questions you anticipate to be asked.

4) Watch the interviewer’s BODY LANGUAGE
Watch the interviewer’s body language. It is important to remember that interviewers are also only human, so they too can lose focus. Your response should be no longer than a minute and a half without interruption. The last thing you want is to see blank, bored expressions –indications that you’ve lost your audience. A good way to keep your interviewer engaged is to ask them a question after each answer. This could be something as simple as “Would you like me to go into more detail?” or “Are there any points in my answer that you want me to clarify?” This ensures your interviewer stays alert and remains part of the conversation.

What tips do you have when it comes to how much you should talk in interviews?

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