Blabbermouth or Statue? How to Talk in a Job Interview

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August 11, 2020

There are a few stressful events that almost everybody goes through, and job interviews must be on the very top of that list. It can be so nerve-wracking to walk into an unfamiliar workplace and then defend your experience, your life, and your personality to a stranger. This nervousness can come out when you’re talking to the interviewer, but a face to face interview shows the company how you communicate, so it’s important. But don’t freak out just yet. Here are some tips on talking during a job interview.

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Talking About Yourself

Most job seekers have heard that they need to “sell themselves” in an interview, but this approach can veer into bragging or seeming cocky quick. There are good ways to talk up your best qualities without making it all about you, though. First, back up your claims about yourself with a story instead of just listing adjectives. Also, a sign of humility is recognizing the contributions of others, so go ahead and mention people who worked with you or supported you. Lastly, be genuine and excited about the opportunity. An interviewer will see and appreciate real enthusiasm.

What NOT to Say

You’re nervous, you’re desperate, and you’re eager to impress; this can be the perfect storm for some awkward babbling or unhelpful responses. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid. Watch out for cliche responses like “My greatest weakness is perfectionism,” or “I think outside the box.” Canned responses can also seem insincere, so don’t memorize answers to questions, just take notes to remember your response. This can be a hard one, but try to keep your responses crisp by avoiding filler words like “um,” “you know,” or “like.”

What to Say

So you know what not to say, but what about what to say? Remember, in an interview; you’re trying to demonstrate several qualities to the hiring manager: honesty, humility, professionalism, enthusiasm, and originality, to name a few. The things you say should support this. Instead of giving short answers or referring to your resume, make sure you give reasons and examples. Show your professionalism by mentioning things about the company or using terms from the job listing in your responses. Project humility by thanking the interviewer for their time and being polite. The interview is the time to showcase your people skills on the interviewer.

How Much to Talk

Another common consequence of a nervous situation is babbling, and this can turn an interviewer off a candidate. Talking too much when you answer a question can make the interview run long, use up time the interviewer needed for important questions, or take up time that could be better used on other topics. You also want to demonstrate you know how to self-edit and be efficient in your work, and the way to do that is by keeping your answers concise and to the point. Remember, you can literally talk yourself out of a job, so in interviews, less can often be more.

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