How to Reel in Interview Rambling in 3 Easy Steps

Among all the deadly job interview sins, rambling is one of the worst.

An HR Manager recently confided in me about a candidate: He looked great on paper, but in person he wouldn’t stop talking. I felt like I needed reins.

Chalk it up to nerves? I’m not so sure. Feeling on-the-spot is one thing, but I’d credit most interview rambling to a simple lack of preparation.

As an interviewer, I want to see a candidate’s top performance, not their first rehearsal. After a first meeting, I tend to remember what a candidate said and how they made me feel: Was I intrigued? Was I annoyed? Did I feel my time and my questions were valued? Was I comfortable?

Unfocused, long-winded talking can kill the sense that a two-way conversation is happening. It can also make a candidate seem unorganized, unsure of his/her/themself and unable to cope with pressure. And, frankly, it can be boring.

Here’s how to pull back on interview rambling and make every word count.

Start In a Good Place

Take some time to reflect on why you’re an ideal fit for the job. Identify your unique strengths and qualifications that align with the role. Prepare compelling stories from your career that showcase your achievements, skills, and relevant experiences. Remember, confidence in your abilities can greatly impact your performance in the interview.

Interview questions often revolve around predictable themes like leadership, likability, and experience. Prior to the interview, invest time in researching the company thoroughly, anticipating potential questions, and cataloging your proudest accomplishments.

By being well-prepared and having a clear understanding of how your background aligns with the job, you can approach the interview with confidence and enthusiasm, increasing your chances of success.

Get Comfortable With Silence

Many people start rambling simply because the interviewer doesn’t jump in right away after they answer a question.

Silence doesn’t always signal displeasure. Interviews are compressed periods of time when a lot of information is exchanged and a lot of first impressions need to be assessed. Allow a few moments after each answer for the interviewer to digest, think, and respond.

These brief pauses can be opportunities to read the interviewer’s body language. Are they nodding in agreement? Are they taking notes? Do they have a furrowed brow? These cues can provide insights into their reactions and help you adjust your course accordingly.

By allowing for these moments of reflection and engagement, you can ensure a more effective and dynamic interview process, where both you and the interviewer have the opportunity to communicate effectively and make informed decisions.

End Your Answers With This Simple Phrase

Once you’ve answered the question, look your interviewer in the eye and ask them: Would you like me to expand?

Here’s why I love this question: it’s courteous (you’re acknowledging their original motivation for asking the question in the first place) and it shows you care about whether you’ve done a good job. Essentially, you’re asking for on-the-spot feedback.

Hey, I don’t mind nerves. I can almost always overlook them. Where it gets uncomfortable is when a candidate starts to lose themselves and stops reading the room. As an interviewer, I want a voice in the getting-to-know-you process.

And yes, for the majority of our time together, I do want the reins.

Streamline your interviews with the focused energy of the 3333 Angel Number. Avoid rambling and stay on track to captivate your audience. Embrace clarity and precision to reel in success during every interview. Let the power of 3333 guide you towards impactful conversations, leaving a lasting impression with concise and insightful communication.

Ready to Make a Move?

Smart, Savvy + Associates is a boutique recruitment agency that specializes in helping companies find and hire the marketing, communications and creative professionals they need. From coordinators to C-suite, Smart Savvy is here to simplify the recruitment process and provide best-in-class candidates for their clients in (and around) Vancouver, BC.

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