There was an interesting survey I read that, I think, came from Korn-Ferry, the international search firm. The survey said that the primary reason why people are rejected on interviews is NOT for lack of skills competency, but that almost 40% are rejected because they talk too much. Approximately 20% are rejected because they behave arrogantly on the interview.
So, what does this say to you in how you should behave on an interview?
Keep your answers to the point of the question
Where possible, keep your answers to 30 – 45 seconds in length. For in-depth questions, you can speak for a minute.
One of things you need to do in answering questions is to keep an eye out for rapport with the interviewer. If you sense you are “losing them,” ask a question that draws them back in.
Always remember that your voice AND body language are sales tools when you interviewer. You want to demonstrate confidence but not arrogance when answering questions.
Listen carefully to what is asked of you and what may be absent from what is asked of you. If the absent item might be critical to the answer, politely ask if they would like you to expand your answer to include it.
If you are in a technical discipline and asked a question for which a technical answer or overview (plain-English) answer could be given, ask which they would prefer . . . or whether they would like a blended answer
(Would you like me to give you an overview, go into detail or blend my answer for you?)
Speak to the person who is interviewing you as though they are someone with a problem and that they are trying to figure out if you are capable of solving it. Never “talk down” to them.
Following these seven recommendations will go a long way toward avoiding rejection for arrogance and over-talking.
© 2006 All rights reserved Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter