Interview Tips: Knowing When to Stop Talking

interviewYour palms are sweating. Your knees are shaking. You feel like you’re rambling. You probably are. STOP.

Job interviews can be incredibly intimidating. You sit across the table from high-level executives and try to prove your worth. In behavioral-based interviews, you are asked several specific, action-driven questions. Your interviewers want to know the details of specific instances when you applied your natural talents and learned skills to unite stakeholders, lead teammates, and solve challenges.

The first problem you face is you’re drawing a blank. Funny, I can’t think of a single time I ever spoke to a single customer or solved a single problem…

So, what’s the solution? Go with what you know. Draw upon your own experience—after all, who knows your stories better than you do? You lived it. It’s always easiest to talk about yourself and your own experiences. Relax, take a deep breath, and picture a scenario that will answer the question thoroughly and constructively. Don’t worry about relaying the perfect scenario, just speak from the heart and explain what you learned from the situation.

The second problem you face is knowing when to stop talking. “I know I’ve mentioned this six times now, but I helped the customer by applying the skills I learned about customer service. The skills I learned really helped me to help the customer. And, I added to my experience by helping the customer and learning more about customer service…” So, what’s the solution? Stop. Just stop.

While answering a question during an interview, picture a stoplight. For the first 30 seconds or so, the light is green and you’re clear to proceed straight ahead while everyone in the room is fully engaged, happily taking notes, and nodding in agreement. Once you pass the 30-second mark, the light turns yellow and you’ll notice that each interviewer’s gaze begins to wander; maybe they’ve stopped taking notes and are politely gazing in your general direction.  After about a minute, the light turns red and you should come to a screeching halt if you haven’t already done so.  No one is writing, everyone is slouching, and no one will  look you in the eye. You’ve lost them. Wrap it up with a positive ending and just stop talking.

Now, stop and share a few interviews tips you might have. (Remember, don’t ramble.)

Interested in a career at Florida Virtual School? At FLVS, all instructors and staff work with a common commitment in mind: the student is at the center of every decision we make. FLVS employees are passionate about delivering a high-quality, technology-based education that provides the skills and knowledge students need for success. In addition to instructional positions for certified and highly qualified teachers, FLVS offers positions in Curriculum Development, Community Relations, Finance, Human Resources, IT, and more. Learn more at or visit our Careers at Florida Virtual School Facebook page.

Post by Kristen Stone, former FLVS Team Lead Staffing Coordinator

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