You Could Be Talking Too Much in Your Interview

Whenever we give interview advice to candidates, we always encourage you to ask the hiring manager lots of questions. After all, interviewing is a two-way street, and it is just as much your opportunity to learn whether the job is right for you as it is for the company to decide whether you’re right for them. But is it possible to feel too empowered to talk? Unfortunately, you could be talking too much in your interview.

Recently, one of our recruiters was interviewing a candidate–let’s call him John. The Amtec recruiter and John were sequestered for nearly an hour and a half. Usually, the longer an interview goes, the better it is for the candidate because when our recruiters sense a quality candidate, they like to take the time to learn more.

But when our recruiter came out, his face told everyone that this candidate was not going to get the job. In fact, John had talked so much, he had wasted nearly the entire time, not asking questions, listening, and learning, but talking endlessly about himself. The recruiter finally asked John if he’d like an honest opinion. When John said yes, the recruiter pointed out that John’s over-talkativeness was hurting his chances and made him a poor fit for the position. But John missed the cue and proceeded to talk some more!

Please don’t get me wrong–we love to get to know our candidates well so we can present you with confidence to our employers. And when we advise employers, we recommend that they screen you for character, competency, and culture fit, which is sound advice. But the bottom line, says USNews.com, is that employers want likable candidates:

“Of course we screen candidates for their…skills,” says a manager who frequently sits on panels to interview candidates. “But when it comes down to it, we know that we have to live and rub shoulders with whomever we hire. We’ll sacrifice in some areas to get someone we really want to work with, and if we see even a hint of negative attitude or rudeness on the part of a candidate, we are done with that person.”

Rudeness or negativity can take various forms. Chancees are that you’re a respectful and positive person. But if you’re worried that you might have difficulty winning over your next interviewer, here are 6 tips from USNews.com to help you be more likable:

  1. Be respectful if you’re asked to offer a critique.
  2. Be on time.
  3. Come prepared.
  4. Don’t act overconfident.
  5. Get the receptionist on your side.
  6. Talk with your interviewers, not at them.

When preparing for your next interview, do make a list of questions. It’s important to learn from the hiring manager whether the job’s responsibilities, the manager’s style, and the company’s culture are all a good fit for you. But if you find yourself doing more talking than listening, you could be talking too much in your interview. Yes, the interview is a two-way street and you are there to talk about yourself. But you’re also there to learn, and the best way to do that is to respectfully tune in to whatever the interviewer has to say.

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