Talking Too Much in an Interview

A reader writes…

How do you know if you’re talking too much in an interview? Shouldn’t I sell myself? 

Dear “Chatty,”

There’s something to be said about having an outgoing personality and being able to talk to anyone, about anything. At the same time, however, talking too much can also be your biggest downfall – especially when it comes to an interview! Here’s a mini breakdown…

  • You’ll start talking and will have the interviewer’s full attention.
  • Within just a few seconds,  the interviewer is already less attentive.
  • After one minute, the interviewer’s mind begins to wander, and he’s barely paying any attention to you. By the way, you can sometimes see this in the interviewer’s facial expression – eyes start to glaze, forehead starts to crinkle… you know the look!
  • By now, the interviewer has pretty much moved on and is beginning to formulate his/her next question.
  • If you’re STILL going on and on (without paying attention to these obvious cues), you’ve likely lost their attention completely by this point.

By all means, you should do your best to “sell yourself” during an interview – but you don’t want to get carried away. Listening (and even asking questions) are essential parts of the process and reveal a lot about a candidate. As mentioned in one of my previous “Interview Rules” post:

Rule #5: LISTEN to the interviewer. We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason! You should do double the listening and keep your mouth shut when appropriate. Employers want good listeners.

A good rule of thumb is to take a good breath after each verbal “paragraph” and WATCH and LISTEN for the interviewer to break in with another question so they don’t start to feel frustrated that they can’t get a word in edgewise. If the interviewer doesn’t start to open his or her mouth to speak, you can keep going.

If anyone has any additional advice on this subject… do tell!
Post your comments here!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Peggy
    Dec 14, 2014 @ 05:58:50

    How should I go about contacting the employer , just call Monday morning be honest that I’m interested in taking the next step interview physical extra , not mention the time laps?


    • anitaclew
      Dec 15, 2014 @ 10:20:51

      I would try to send an email first and if you do not get a response in a few days, follow up with a phone call.


  2. Phyllis A. Vinciguerra
    May 19, 2011 @ 10:26:10

    During an interview it is very important that you listen to the interviewer so you can answer the questions in a positive manner to which you are selling your skills. I did this, I was asked to start working the day I was interviewed. I was also asked, how much I want payed.


  3. raineywalden
    May 17, 2011 @ 09:32:52

    I agree, but, of course, this interviewing tactic is difficult to accomplish during telephone interviews. As an intent to piggy-back off of this inquiry, what are good tactics for successfully passing those psychological interviews when you provide honest responses, but a comparison of your responses to prior statistics representing average responses lower your chances tremendously? In other words, do you provide the anticipated response which may be contrary to a truthful response? Gallup is an organization that uses these type of interview methods.


  4. Dennis Barmettler
    May 17, 2011 @ 08:52:22

    Chatting and warming up people is a skill , and although being trasparent by revealig a bit of your real self through sharing is important, as well as opening up others about the real person they are is equally important, A sales call is about getting to the point as time is important in todays downsized world, spend time on thier need, and they will appreciate, and welcome you back


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
%d bloggers like this: