“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Abraham Lincoln

For most people, job interviews are not fun.

It’s a stressful time where you’re doing your best to make a good impression, while simultaneously trying to sell yourself to the recruiter.

Unfortunately, it’s also where most people go wrong.

Recruiters want candidates to talk, as long as the information offered is relevant to the questions being asked. When a candidate over speaks at interview it signals to the hiring manager that not only are you nervous but you lack two key skills: self-awareness and listening skills both of which are important when communicating effectively with others.

To combat this issue firstly you need to:

  • Think of the interview as a conversation

There should be a natural back and forth and flow with no one person dominating the conversation for longer than it takes to answer a question.

  • Be Prepared

Enter an interview without fully preparing for questions, and you’ll be sure to ramble. To fix this, you can do a mock interview with a friend and recording the interview. In review, you’ll be able to tell where you stumble, where you’re a little too verbose and what responses can be polished. Being comfortable with what you are saying and how you structure your sentences is very important when it comes to interviews. You don’t want to give one-word answers and you certainly don’t want to dive into a five-minute spiel.

  • Stop over embellishments

Give your answer and then ask whether they would like you to elaborate or give further details- look for signs such as nodding or leaning in if you are in person. If you are on a telephone interview. Answer the question then be silent so the interviewer understands that you have finished and can interject with further questions.

  • Listen to the question and don’t interrupt

Listen to what is being asked. This is a simple thing to do but many candidates are so enthusiastic about promoting their knowledge they fail to understand what is being asked and end up giving a rambling answer hoping that some of what they said is relevant to the question.

  • Deal with Silences

The interviewer waiting longer than usual to respond after you’ve answered their question is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Sometimes the interviewer is simply taking notes, other times, he or she is seeing how you’ll fill the void.But people typically see this as they didn’t answer the question properly and would fill that space with more information, typically stuff that may hurt their chances. So, rather than attempting to continue answering the question, I recommend saying something along the lines of “Did that answer your question or were you looking for more clarity?”

  • Interviews are your opportunity to learn

Your interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about the job requirements and culture. You will miss out on this opportunity if you are constantly talking. You will miss subtle clues given by the hiring manager and you won’t get the opportunity to ask probing and intelligent questions of your own at the end of the interview.

In summary, do not be afraid. With practice, you’ll be able to polish your pitch, adjusting the length of your responses until someone says, “You’re hired!”