Many job candidates tend to run off at the mouth during a job interview. They babble endlessly with long monologues that show almost no sign of ending. Even the most simple and basic questions invite garrulous 15-minute answers littered with elaborate personal stories ranging from previous bosses to family trivia.

While some of these jobseekers may be naturally talkative, others are simply nervous, excited or anxious to please which makes them go overboard with superfluous and long-winded replies.

The catch is that this tendency to go on and on can cost you the job even when you would otherwise have seemed appropriately qualified!

Talking too much during an interview creates a poor impression – it is interpreted as a negative trait. The interviewer is bound to doubt your job approach when you just cannot get to the point. Or, by over-sharing you may accidentally let slip irrelevant details that are better left unsaid.

The excessive loquaciousness also cuts into interviewing time, as the interviewer obviously wants to pose further questions to learn more about you, but is unable to get in a word edgewise. What’s more, he may even reject your candidature just to avoid being saddled with your ramblings on a daily basis!

According to a survey, 36 percent of recruiters reiterate that talking too much is the most common interview mistake that job candidates make. So you might have just blown an otherwise promising chance of employment, that too without even realising it.

But, don’t despair as it’s not like you cannot do anything about it.

Here are tips to getover the habit:

Know what you will speak about – Practise answering questions in a succinct, direct and focussed manner. You can even prepare short statements for expected questions that are powerful, engaging and yet to the point. A rule of thumb is that an answer should last no longer than two minutes with basic ones drawing 30 seconds or even less.

The key is to define yourself with brevity, using every minute to its best advantage to promote your strengths and show that your background matches the position.

Know when to stop - Remember that when an interviewer asks, ‘Tell me about yourself?’ he does not want or for that matter, need to know your whole life story! So, stick to the relevant points and refrain from digressing into extraneous issues.

A simple trick is to collect your thoughts before you start speaking, talk and remain silent later on to give the interviewer a chance to respond with further questions. You can always confirm what the interviewer wants to know with a ‘Should I focus on….’ before you commence answering and also check back on the adequacy of your answer with ‘Does that give you what you are looking for?’ or ‘Do you want more examples?’.

Watch out for the warning signs – You can always take your cues from the interviewer to grasp when he is bored or you have gone on too long.

Non-verbal body language like glancing away, looking at the watch, rolling eyes, tapping a pen, wincing or stopping taking notes are obvious hints that the interviewer is exasperated with your endless discourse.

Other factors – Listen actively to what the interviewer is saying so that you understand the question and then answer in an appropriate and direct manner to show that you value his time. This give-and-take will build a positive, respectful relationship as well as reflect on your communication skills.

To sum up, less is more as talking too much can render irreparable damage to your career. On the other hand, going to the other extreme and speaking too little, with the interviewer having to pull information from you will not do you any favours either.

So be an active and responsive interview participant who fully answers questions but does not go on giving irrelevant information either!

faqs@cnkonline.com