Talking Too Much in an Interview Can Cost You the Job. Here’s How to Fix It

Cut the rambling—and improve your performance

Think back on your last interview. Did you talk to the point where the hiring manager’s eyes glazed over?

If so, you probably rambled on a little too long.

Here, we’re talking with media pros to learn why over-talking can ruin your chances of landing the job, as well as a few steps you can take to make sure you never do it again.

Talking Too Much Hurts Your Chances

Sure, it’s not the worst thing you could do in an interview, but it can hurt your chances of getting the gig. Nicole Williams, career expert and founder of WORKS by Nicole Williams points to a quote from Pauline Phillips (creator of the Dear Abby column): “The more you talk, the less you are listened to.”

“Interviewers are of course looking to learn about you and get a sense of your personality,” says Williams. “However, what they really want is someone who is succinct, articulate and pensive.”

Another thing to consider is the interviewer’s schedule. Dan Auerbach, operations director at Intuitive Digital, says the interviewer often schedules back-to-back interviews with several candidates. So, if you ramble over your allotted time, you risk disrupting the interviewer’s entire schedule.

Be Prepared

If you enter an interview without fully preparing for questions, you’ll be sure to ramble. To fix this, Williams suggests conducting a mock interview with a friend and recording the interview. In review, you can 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,” says Williams. “You don’t want to give one-word answers and you certainly don’t want to dive into a five-minute spiel.”

Polish your interview skills, impress the hiring manager and dramatically increase your odds of landing the job with a mock interview.

Deal with Silences

One of the oldest tricks in the book is the interviewer waiting longer than usual to respond after you’ve answered their question. Sometimes, the interviewer is simply taking notes; other times, he or she sees how you’ll fill the void.

“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,” says David Blacker, managing principal of digital marketing agency Venerate Media Group.

Rather than continuing to answer the question, Blacker recommends asking, “Did that answer your question, or were you looking for more clarity?”

FAQs: Enhancing Interview Skills and Managing Over-Talking

Q: Why can talking too much during an interview be detrimental?

A: Talking excessively can hinder your chances because it might lead to less engagement from the interviewer, indicating a lack of brevity and thoughtfulness. It also risks overrunning the allocated time, potentially disrupting the interviewer’s schedule.

Q: What steps can be taken to prepare for an interview?

A: Prepare by conducting mock interviews with a friend and recording them to identify and polish areas where your responses may be too long or lack clarity. This helps you structure your answers more effectively and avoid rambling.

Q: How can one ensure they are not over-talking in an interview?

A: Be concise and articulate in your responses, delivering clear and relevant information without unnecessary details. Practice structuring your answers to questions in an informative yet concise way.

Q: What should you do when faced with silence after answering a question in an interview?

A: Embrace the silence as a normal part of the interview process. If you feel compelled to fill the void, ask the interviewer if your answer was sufficient or if they need further clarification instead of continuing to talk.

Q: How does being overly verbose affect the interviewer’s perception?

A: Over-talking can make you seem less articulate and possibly less confident in your answers. Interviewers appreciate candidates who can express themselves clearly and efficiently, reflecting good communication skills and respecting the interviewer’s time.

Q: What role does preparation play in avoiding over-talking?

A: Adequate preparation allows you to answer questions more confidently and concisely, reducing the likelihood of rambling. It helps you anticipate questions and structure your thoughts ahead of time.

Q: How can mock interviews help in reducing over-talking?

A: Mock interviews provide a safe environment to practice your responses, helping you identify when you’re prone to over-talking. They allow you to refine your answers and improve your ability to communicate effectively and concisely.

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