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How to stop talking too much in a job interview

Interview nerves affect people in different ways. For some, it can cause a dry mouth or sweaty palms. Other people can feel incredibly shy. But, for many people, they find in interview situations they end up talking far too much. This might not sound like an obvious problem, but it can mean you end up rambling or giving overly detailed answers.

While you shouldn’t try to change your natural style, there are things you can do to make sure it doesn’t detract from your interview performance. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons people talk too much in job interviews and what you can do to manage this.

#1 You think the interviewer wants more information

In this situation, you’ve been asked a question and given your answer. But, then you interviewer looks at you blankly. You think that they want more information from you, so you start to expand on your answer. By doing this, you turn a succinct reply into a drawn out ramble.

If this happens to you and you are unsure whether your interviewer wants you to continue, you should ask them if they would like further details. This way, you’ll know whether to carry on talking or move onto the next question.

#2 You’re not exactly sure what the interviewer asked

Sometimes, it is not clear what a question is trying to get at. Instead of trying to muddle your way through, you should ask for clarification. Don’t be afraid to do this, as it will make your response more focused. If you understand the question, then you’ll be able to give a much better answer.

#3 You’ve started to lose your thread and are now talking too much in a job interview

If you do start to ramble in an interview, take a short pause and ask if you can start the question again. This will stop you from continuing to ramble and will help you to refocus on the question you were asked. It is important here that you don’t just carry on talking, as this will only make the situation worse for you.

#4 You’ve given a very long answer and lost your interviewer’s attention

Some interview questions require long answers, so this in itself is not a problem. But, we are all human and, despite their best intentions, interviewers can sometimes lose their focus. To make sure that your interviewer stays engaged, ask them a question. This could be something as straightforward as “Would you like me to go into more detail?” or “Are there any points in my answer that you want me to clarify?” The benefit of this tactic is that it ensures your interviewer stays alert and part of the conversation.