Don’t talk too much or too long

I get it, this is the moment you have been waiting for, a foot in the door and you are experiencing an emotional rush of excitement or anxiety. You are nervous and more than anything, you want to make the best of your allotted time to prove you are the real deal.

Yes its fine but don’t go overboard with “superfluous and long-winded replies”, hoping you will impress your interviewers.

Here are 3 reasons why;

1. You will look like you have something to hide- When you talk too much, interviewers begin to think you are over compensating for your incompetence because if you aren’t, why is it so hard to get to the point of your answer.

2. You create a poor impression of yourself- When interviewers sense that they have to sieve through a sea of words to find the answers they are looking for, it creates a lot of doubt as to what your approach to work will be when you finally get the job.

3. You drain the energy in the room- Remember you are not the only candidate being considered and interviews cost a lot of time and energy. This ends up taking a toll on everyone involved in the process so be precise in your answers.

Now that you know, here are some things you can do to avoid this mistake;

1. Create a structure for answering questions and make it a habit- For example if you are asked “How proficient are you with Java?” , In answering, be deliberate about using metrics/numbers. So you answer should sound or read like this; “ I have worked with Java for 3years and have built applications in e-commerce, telemedicine and logistics”. Your interviewers might be interested to hear about your most interesting projects or not. Which ever is the case, your answer is precise and has the right amount of context.

2. Have an answer time frame- Mentally create a time frame of not more than 2mins for elaborate answers and 30 secs for straight answers. You could easily time yourself by referring to the time on your computer. Gratefully, more and more interviews are virtual.

3. Know when to stop- When your are asked to introduce yourself and your skills, please don’t fall into the old line of talking about when you graduated and then when you got your first job. Take the question head on by listing your skills, the milestones you are proud of and the kind of projects you have worked on…. and don’t forget the 2mins mark on this.

In summary, be mindful that an interview is always a sales pitch and the goods on the table is “value”. You can only communicate this value if you listen to understand the questions asked because in doing so, you communicate what your interviewer is hoping to hear.

This give and take ultimately creates a positive connection that takes you and the company to the next step in the selection process.