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Career Coach

Talking Too Much in Interviews

Published November 3, 2010 2:13 PM by Renee Dahring

Interviews are a two-way street. 

When it comes to interviews, most applicants expect to be asked a wide variety of questions about themselves and their qualifications. The assumption is that the interview exists in order for the potential employer to get to know the applicant. Prior to the interview, most clinicians give considerable thought to what questions might be asked and have a number of potential responses in mind. In fact, most job candidates lose a fair amount of sleep attempting to have a ready response for almost every question they can conceive of being asked.

I recently received an e-mail from a job seeker who showed up for her interview only to have a very different experience. She wrote, “The person doing the interview just kept talking and talking!” She related that for the entire time she was in the interview she couldn’t get a word in edgewise and felt that in order for her to actually say anything she would literally have to interrupt the person who was interviewing her!  Unsure if speaking up would be perceived as rude, she ended up saying very little about herself. It was much like that old joke about going on a first date with a person who can’t stop talking about him- or herself: “Enough about me, let’s talk about you – what do you think of me?”  If it hadn’t been so disappointing it would almost be funny, she lamented.

I warn applicants all the time about talking too much in an interview. One of the frequent complaints I would hear after I had sent an applicant out on an interview was that the applicant had and taken over control and “dominated” the interview. This time it was the interviewer essentially doing an hour-long monologue and the applicant who was allowed to say very little.

Was this interview a total waste? No, I told the candidate; remember that an interview serves also as an opportunity for you to learn something about the employer. What you learned in this situation is invaluable: You learned that this job is probably not going to be a good fit for you.

Take-home message: Don’t get so focused on sharing your own information that you forget to do your own assessment of the employer. Can you imagine working for this person who couldn’t stop yakking?     

I want to hear your interview stories! Email me at or visit my website


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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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