One of the often-debated aspects of successful job interviewing is how much should a job candidate talk and how much they should listen. A job interview is an opportunity for a perspective employer to get to know the candidate and what attributes the candidate would bring to the hiring organization. At the same time, the interview provides an opportunity for the candidate to learn more about the organization and the specific requirements of the position for which they are applying.
A candidate that dominates the conversation with long and rambling responses to the interviewer’s questions may be seen as self-centered and insensitive to others. This type of candidate may also be viewed as unwilling to listen to guidance and as a “know-it-all”. These are not attributes that most employers are seeking. Candidates displaying this type of behavior will not be viewed as team players or as someone willing to fit into the new organization.
On the other hand, a candidate that responds to the interviewer’s questions with one-word answers may be viewed as disengaged and not really serious about being hired. By not engaging the interviewer and joining in the conversation, this type of candidate may be viewed as trying to hide something or being less than fully truthful in their responses.
Either one of the above candidates will have a hard time convincing the interviewer that they will be a stellar employee.
Most interviewers will give the benefit of the doubt to candidates who talk too much or too little and they understand that nerves and emotions can influence behavior during the interview. It’s a stressful and challenging event, and candidates are not always as calm and collected as they’d like to be.
Candidates can help themselves by adhering to a simple speaking and listening ratio of 50:50. This ratio will keep the candidate within reasonable bounds during the discussions and help them avoid either extreme.
So, if you tend to be long-winded or overly shy, help yourself out at your next interview and go 50:50 with your interviewer!