You walk into the interview room and like any job candidate; your aim is to walk out in a blaze of glory. You are wearing the appropriate attire prepared to give it your best shot.
Warm firm handshake, confident smile, eye contact; all check!
The interviewer leans forward and asks: so tell me about yourself?
The split second it took you to absorb the question, a number of responses run through your mind and just as you part your lips to say something, you realise you are about letting out your life story, all of it.
After five sentences, your interviewer already knows the schools you went to and the different accolades you’ve accrued to yourself; the places you’ve worked, your hobbies, dog’s best food, your spouse’s middle name, the wedding you attended the previous weekend…
The interviewer looks puzzled, he gives a very wry smile; but you have no idea you just shot yourself in the foot.
There’s obviously been an overspill of information in the first few minutes that was needed to give a good impression. Believe me, you don’t want that.
Life has become more complex over the years and now we all make efforts to deal with information overload.
Sometime ago, I met someone who was strongly convinced he got hired by a prestigious bank because he loves to talk. At first, I thought he made that up but as I listened to him speak for a long period of time, I discovered every word he said made meaning, especially in the context of our meeting.
The problem is not talking a lot, it’s about saying the right things and you can only do so knowing what needs to be heard.
One thing I learned from the Buffer blog on why we buy into ideas is; to communicate effectively, you have to care about your audience.
People rarely see communication from this angle but you’ll agree communication only makes sense when the receiver gets your message in the context and content it was sent.
Organisations are run by interactions, negotiations and relationships. Interviewing is more like a negotiation, you are helping your interviewer make a decision whether to hire you or not.
The first thing you should bear in mind here is the fact that Interviewers also like to feel important in the interview room, doing all the talking kills that effect and it definitely cuts your score.
Be sure you aren’t just saying things you think the interviewer wants to hear but things that give your interviewer reasons to hire you.
Read facial expressions and body languages, use your words astutely and make your interviewer’s time with you worth it.
Know when to stop talking or to continue, know when to ask further questions or repeat a statement.
Reeling off too much unrelated information won’t make your listener love you because it’s clearly a waste of his/her time and many of the things you say will be out of context. Don’t make this mistake in interviews or anywhere you have to make a presentation. Care about your audience, know their pain-point and proffer solutions. Give your audience what needs to heard, just enough not too much.
Give a good first impression and create an atmosphere for a great conversation or you’ll make your interviewer’s face go blue and then red. Not good.