Many things can cause even the best of us to "wax on". While this might be tolerated at the bar on a Saturday night with your buddies, this is absolutely fatal during an interview. Learn how to catch yourself from babbling or you will risk coming off as nervous, boring or self-important.
You're Nervous - and are speaking too fast.
- Smile when you talk. This has been clinically proven to help people calm down when speaking.
- Count to 5 before responding to a question. This will at least slow down the beginning part of your dialogue.
- Make a conscious attempt to speak more slowly. It will improve what and how the manager takes in what you've said and will avoid you coming off as anxious.
You're Not Listening - and because you weren't focused on what they really asked, you end up getting into tangential or unrelated topics.
- Repeat the question in your head and make sure you understand it. Ask them to clarify if needed.
- Focus on only answering what they asked first. If you feel that your answer limits you, ask the manager if it's OK to provide some additional information you feel is pertinent.
You're Going Too Deep - and getting into way too much detail.
- Think kiddy pool, not deep end. Get into only a first level of detail in your answers and ask if they would like you to expand upon these thoughts. They will tell you if they want more.
You're Hogging the Microphone - and doing all the talking because you think the HM is interested.
- Don't grandstand or pontificate ever. You may feel like you are on a roll, but for all you know the manager is feeling left out of the conversation or, worse, bored to tears.
- Catch yourself from doing this by putting a self-imposed limit on your comments of about 2 minutes max.
- Use this checkpoint to stop and involve the manager in your commentary..."is this the type of information you wanted from me"..."can I get into any deeper level of detail for you"..."is this answering your question"..."is my experience I'm describing relevant to the role you are hiring for?"