Ask a Recruiter: I worry that I talk too much in any interview situation. But I feel I have to take the opportunity to say as much about myself as I can. Am I wrong?


If the only voice you’re hearing is your own, then you are likely talking too much.

But you’re not alone in gabbing more than you should. According to a US survey, 36% of recruiters believe the biggest mistake job applicants make is talking too much in an interview.

It’s understandable. Many candidates believe a job interview is supposed to be all about them. It’s not. The reason for the interview is to find out how you can help an organization meet its needs. In other words, it’s all about the company, not about you.

Whether you’re meeting with recruiters or employers in the GTA for temporary work, contract work or full-time job opportunities, keep the following six tips in mind. They’re tried-and-true strategies for ensuring hiring authorities will stay listening to what you have to say.

Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. Now think about your speaking points, and ask yourself, “Why should the company care?” Is the information you’re sharing clarifying how you can help meet the company’s needs? If not, you’re off topic, and you could lose the interviewer’s interest very quickly.

Think of your interview as a presentation. The interview may feel informal, but remember that this isn’t a casual chat with a new friend over coffee. Your interview is always a business meeting and the interviewer has an agenda. It’s helpful to think of your interview as a presentation, and the interviewer as your client. Your presentation must meet client needs and interests, engage them, and be to the point.

Make sure you’re having a dialogue, not a monologue. People get restless and irritated when they are talked at. So make sure you are talking with your interviewer and asking questions that show your interest in what they have to say. People want to know you have listening skills.

Do some research. According to an international survey of executive search firms, 22% of candidates make the mistake of not learning about a company before they go in for an interview. If you are seeking contract work or full-time job opportunities in the GTA, you will want to do some research into the organization so that your conversation will be more informed.

Role play. At The Bagg Group, we help candidates prepare for interviews. Here’s a good way to prepare if you are on your own. Write down a list of questions and answers you expect to be asked. And be sure to anticipate follow-up questions too.

Here’s how this works. You can expect to be asked, “What’s your biggest weakness?.” (By the way, the best way to answer that question is to show how you are improving in an area of challenge.) But let’s say you choose to answer: “I’m a workaholic.” Be prepared for a follow-up question. The interviewer may ask, “So how many hours a week do you work?” or “What time do you usually arrive at work in the morning and what time do you leave?” Do you have an honest answer ready?

After you answer the question, stop talking: When people are nervous, they often tend to repeat themselves. And the longer you talk, without saying anything new, the more you reduce the value of your answer. So make your point and stop. You make a greater impression when you give the interviewer a chance to respond to what you’ve been saying or ask you another question.

Above all, never lose sight that the interviewer isn’t meeting with you to be entertained or to hear your life story. The interviewer just wants to hear about how you can contribute to the company. Stay focused on that, and the conversation will work for both of you.

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