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Why you should say less in job interviews

Many of the people I’ve interviewed for job openings over the years had a nasty habit of talking too much. I would check my watch to signal my boredom and try to hurry things up.

But to no avail, they kept on talking – and talked themselves out of the job.

Here are 9 ways to dramatically improve your chances of getting the job, by saying less.

1. The 90-second rule: None of your answers should be more than 90 seconds long. Brevity demonstrates your ability to be succinct, to the point. The interviewer needs you to do this, so that you don’t waste company time. But equally important, it sends the signal that you can communicate effectively.

2. Leave out meaningless details: Focus on the core of your answers and leave out information that is superfluous. Don’t add sideline commentary about your life that has nothing to do with why you were invited to the interview. The interviewer is not your pal and they don’t care about any information that is not relevant to the hiring process.

3. Seek clarification: You will waste time by misunderstanding a question. Ask for clarification before answering if you’re not sure of what is being asked.

4. Focus on accomplishments and value-added: If asked to talk about yourself, focus on your accomplishments, experience, knowledge and the value-added you bring to the table (for example, you may have a lot of industry contacts).

5. Be relaxed: Your nerves will cause you to talk too much. You need to be composed, relaxed and confident. Practice your responses with special attention to saying only what is needed.

6. Avoid looking away: Gazing off, away from the direction of the interviewer, due to nerves, will make you appear indifferent and cause you to move off track. Keep your eyes in the direction of the interviewer to stay engaged and focussed.

7. Ask meaningful questions: If asked whether you have any questions, never reply, “Nope, you covered it all.” That will make you appear dis-interested. You can often win a job, not based on anything you said about yourself, but rather, the quality of the questions you asked. Asking the interviewer about his or her opinion on the direction of the industry, for example, shows you came prepared for the interview and have a genuine interest. Just be sure not to ask too many questions since you’re not the one doing the interview.

8. Leave pauses: Avoid talking so much that the interviewer is not able to interrupt. Don’t sound like a bad telemarketing script and try not to use long “ahhhhh” sounds that prevent the interviewer from speaking. Allow for pauses where the interviewer can inject follow-up questions.

9. Say thanks when it’s over: Once the interviewer has made it clear that the interview is over, just say thanks for the opportunity. Do not raise new topics and overstay your welcome.

Providing sufficient detail so the interviewer can make an informed decision, but keeping things concise, is the key to a successful job interview.

Published in collaboration with LinkedIn

Author: Cory Galbraith is a 30-year veteran of business ownership and is CEO of Galbraith Communications.

Ref: forum blog

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