Job interviews are a two-way conversation. Some job seekers get so nervous about the “big’ event that they speak too fast and too much. You run the risk of rambling on about something the Hiring Manager may not even be interested in.
Here’s What You Do
Tip #1. Listen for the question and wait for the interviewer to pause before speaking. Make a mental note to not interrupt or start speaking until there is complete silence. Be sure you give him/her the full chance to talk. If it helps, smile before you begin. It will serve as a reminder to wait.
Tip #2. Pause frequently and allow the Hiring Manager to ask a follow-up question. Resist the urge to keep talking because you are afraid of silence. The interviewer is usually taking notes so any breaks you provide are welcomed so as much information can be captured.
Tip #3. Answer only the question asked and resist moving on to something else until you are probed. You should always be brief. As a guideline, stick to 3 points for every answer and speak for no more than 2-3 minutes for each question. If you need to, time yourself during your interview practice to get a feel of how long 2-3 minutes is.
Tip #4. Ask for permission to keep going. It is perfectly okay to check in during the interview and ask if he/she needs more detail or more clarification. After you have provided at least 3 points per question and have spoken for about 2-3 minutes, check in with the interviewer to see if you have provided enough information or if you should keep going.
Most Hiring Managers like to see that you are courteous and aware of the time limitations. For example, “That is an overview of my role in the project. Would you like me to tell you more about the project itself?”
Tip #5. Take time to breath. Be comfortable with momentary silence. It will give the interviewer an opportunity to digest all the information you are providing. Pause to smile, it will inject enthusiasm in your voice and release any tension you might be feeling.
The interviewer has an interview guide with a list of questions he/she must get answered in a very limited time. If you remember to limit your answers, you will appear more focused and assist them to get everything they need.
The last thing you want is to get through only three questions and have your time be up. Many Hiring Managers have back-to-back appointments and if you run out of time, your chance is gone.