How to Avoid Long Pauses and ‘Umms’ in an Interview

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Picture this: You just walked into the interview. Your palms are sweating, your heart is pounding, and the first question hits you like a wrecking ball. “So, why do you want to work here?” You then pause for a while, and say “Umm well I want to work here for a lot of reasons.” By using ‘Umms’ and long pauses, your brain is trying to come up with an answer right away, which will detract from your main message.

Below are a few tips to help avoid you saying ‘Umm’ and using long pauses:

Tip #1: Breathe.

It sounds so easy, but some people rapidly try to answer the question and then begin rambling. It is important to remember to take a deep breath and allow time for a natural pause. This will create more of a conversational tone and help you feel relaxed.

Tip #2: Clarify with the Interviewee.

It’s okay to clarify with the interviewee about what he or she is asking. This is their first step to determine if you are able to comprehend and answer with a logical statement. Clarifying the question will also make you seem interested and intrigued in the interview.

Tip #3: Practice with Friends.

Do you use long pauses and ‘Umms’ while having a conversation with a friend? Probably not. Just simply practicing and role playing an interview will show you how easy it is to sound natural. Another trick while practicing is to have your friend snap their fingers every time you take a long pause or say ‘Um’. You will then realize how often you are doing these things, and reflect on what you need to work on.

Follow these three simple tips in order to avoid those tedious long pauses and ‘Umms’ that interviewees secretly hate!

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