Unless you have been blessed with natural public speaking skills, you have probably experienced the feeling of knowing you were rambling in an interview.
Rambling and talking in circles is one of our coping mechanisms as our brain tries to think about the next thing to say. As a delay tactic, we talk more than we should about things that have already been said or are irrelevant to the question that was asked.
Recruiters and hiring managers understand the nervousness of interviewing, but excessive rambling can be a distraction and ruin the first impression. Presenting your best self clearly and concisely is essential to securing the job you are vying for.
Arm yourself with an interview strategy
There are several tactics to help you avoid rambling in interviews, but there’s one that tops the list. However, before we let you in on this top interviewing tactic, let’s go over some of the fundamental interview strategies you need to learn first.
Before you even think about participating in an interview, you need to do your homework. Research the company and know what makes them tick.
Understand the pain points of the organization and their vision for the future. By understanding your potential employer on this level, you will be more prepared to answer questions coherently.
In addition to researching the company, you also need to prepare for common interview questions. Depending on your industry and the position you are applying for, you may have questions ranging from leadership questions to the typical “explain why you are the best candidate” question.
Use an answer framework
Next, one of the top interview techniques is to have a framework for each potential type of question. For instance, if you receive an employment issue question, you should be prepared to answer the question in three separate phases:
- How you would set the employee up for success and provide the tools and resources to make them a valuable part of the organization.
- How you would deal with the employee issue.
- How you would ensure this same problem does not happen again in the future.
Intentionally slow down your speech
When nervousness comes into play, many people start speaking so quickly without pauses they can even find themselves out of breath.
Professional public speakers teach the importance of intentionally slowing down your answers to emphasize points. By focusing on slowing down, you will be more conscious if you start to ramble.
Do this one thing before speaking to avoid rambling in interviews
Finally, there is one essential thing you must do before answering any interview question. The secret is to pause and form your thoughts before answering. This is easier said than done because even a five-second pause can feel like five minutes to you.
However, for those sitting on the other side of the table, a short pause to gather your thoughts is expected. This brief pause (five to ten seconds) will help you form your ideas to avoid rambling. By making a conscious effort to pause after the question, your answer inevitably will be of much higher quality.
While most people hate pauses, keep in mind that an uncomfortably long break may make it awkward for everyone and taint even the best thought-out answer. Use a pause to your advantage without overdoing it.