Simple Interview Tip - Stop Talking!

Simple Interview Tip - Stop Talking!

In our 20+ years' recruitment experience, there are definite trends in why candidates are rejected by companies as a result of their interviews.

Some reasons come up again and again i.e. lack of enthusiasm and energy in the candidate, lack of preparation and research done by the candidate in the company and role they are interviewing for, candidates talking themselves out of the role because they focused on what they cannot do as opposed to what they can do. But the biggest reason is...

You're talking too much! 

So why does this happen over and over again? Here are some theories

You're overselling yourself

The age-old adage in interviewing is to sell yourself as much as possible by maximizing every question asked. Old school thinking.

The interviewers know a lot about you already having read your CV, and if you went through a decent recruiter, they will have provided insights about you and your eligibility to join the company. So the interviewers want to fill in the blanks in the short time allotted for the interview but can't - because you won't stop talking.

This leads to frustration and them making the assumption that this is how you will perform in internal meetings - slowing things up in the business.  

Group interview

Education in Communication skills 

We spend all our time in school learning how to talk and read - two of the three crucial elements of communication - but they are both the least important in an interview.

The third, of course, is Listening. We don't really get much schooling on how to listen effectively. Strange isn't it? So when someone asks a question, your mind may partially be elsewhere, making judgments on the person asking the question based on appearances or accent etc. and you are not receiving the information being transmitted. Especially when under pressure in an interview situation - and you end up answering a question you think you heard as opposed to what was actually said.

If you are interested in improving your listening skills, check out Active Listening. It's a super course.


Candidates often go into an interview with an agenda of what they want to get across. In doing, however, you risk only getting this agenda across and not answering the questions (see the first point about overselling). These candidates often leave an interview thinking they smashed it...They smashed it in terms of getting their story/agenda across but did terrible in answering the questions asked.  

Talking around the houses 

So, here's a common interview scenario: You get asked a don't know the answer...the room goes quiet...time is feel you have to say something so you talk about something else which isn't relevant. People are terrified of saying "I don't know" but being upfront and honest shows more about you and your character to the interviewer which is exactly what they want to see. 

Fear of silence 

People are also terrified of silence in interviews! Most times, the length of a silence is in your head. Fearing the silence results in candidates rushing into answers instead of thinking things through before committing to something verbally. This is the blurb you feel regret about often. I'm not advocating sitting there for 2 minutes pondering but a 3-5 second gap is fine to compose your thoughts and then go for it.  


About the Author

Brian McFaddenThis article was written by Brian Mc Fadden, who has 20 years experience in recruitment. 

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