Zip the lip! – Learn when to stop talking in your job interview!

What I’m covering today is what I call “Zip the lip!” What do I mean by that? In all my years of recruitment, I often mention how hiring and job hunting is very similar to dating. Let’s say you’re on a blind date and you come and sit down with your date. And then your date talks and talks and talks. You’re starting to fall asleep and get bored and you’re thinking how to end this date so that you can go home to watch Netflix. The same thing is with an Interview. It’s the same concept. When you go in for the interview, you want to execute, answer those questions and have a scope on the subject matter and how you answer. But you have to zip the lip!

Let them do the talking

If an employer is going to go on and on and on – that’s okay. If the hiring manager is the one that talks a lot “off the record”, you can think if this is the person you want to work with. That’s a personal intake you need to address personally to determine if this role is for you to overtake.  But what happens when you are asked “Where do see yourself 5 years from now?” and then you talk for 10-15 minutes, the interview is going to end really soon. I would recommend that you let the employer/hiring manager/HR person control the interview. The way you do that is zip the lip! I want you to imagine a zipper in front of your mouth that you open for an answer and zip it up right after. Most of the successful interviews are the ones where the employer does the most talking.

You’re the one that’s getting interviewed

I once had a client that called me and said that the candidate didn’t stop talking and at one point she felt like that person was interviewing her. The comments, the questions, the insight and the tantrum was out of control. As a manager, she tried to end it a few times but this person was so in control that she wasn’t able to do that. Ironically, the candidate called me and said “It was amazing, we really hit it off and I can really see myself there. I’m confident for a callback.” Of course, that was not the case. I strongly encourage you to zip the lip!

Zip the writing too

In general, this comes down to the interview but it also applies to thank you notes. Something you’ll learn in my eCourse “On Your Marks, Get Set, HIRED!” is that thank you notes are very important as a follow-up after the interview. When I first started working in the business, I always liked to check on thank you notes in case there were any issues.

What happened is that one of the candidates sent a two-page thank you note. It just went on and on and on. It was out of control! I got a call right away from the client saying “You’re not going to believe this thank you note we just got!” It was such an overdrive that they passed on the candidate. It was too much. Less is more! Best to be to the point than to go on and on. When you’re in an Interview it’s best to let the employer be in control. You have to remember that they’re the ones making the decision. They’re the ones interviewing 10-15 people for the position. They’re the ones that read hundreds of Resumes before they determined and decided if they’re going to interview you. You better believe that if they’re interviewing you, they’re interviewing lots of people. You have to show that best foot forward. The thank you note says the same thing.

Show your best

The whole process of when you apply for a job is an opportunity for two things to occur. First, the employer gets to learn everything about you. They get to see how you communicate, present yourself, how you follow-up, how you verbalize yourself and react to a stressful situation. Obviously, interviewing is not easy and we don’t do that a lot and it can be stressful and uncomfortable especially for people that are shy. And they get to see that there. Are you sending a thank you note? What’s in your thank you note? What are you writing and saying? The key is to be to the point, concise, direct, answer the question fully, give examples and then zip the lip.

Same thing with a thank you note. No one is interested in a two-page thank you “Chapter 1”. You’re not pitching a book or a thesis. You’re sending a cute, sweet, professional follow up note, thanking them for their time and consideration. Perhaps, you want to summarize one or two subjects you discussed, provide your contact information and say that you’re looking forward to hearing from them soon. Zip the lip! Zip the writing! That’s all you do. And that’s enough.


This is not about going above and beyond in the interview

You just want to go where you need to go. You want to be able to execute, communicate clearly your skillset. But you don’t really know what they’re really looking for, what questions they’re asking and most importantly they allocate 30-60 minutes for an interview. So you want to give the employer plenty of time to ask you their questions.

If you’re going to go on and on about things that don’t matter, it’s not going to work. I recently had a talk with a candidate from top investment firm in LA. He called me afterward, said the interview is went very good. He said they talked for 45 minutes. It’s interesting how you can think that your interview goes well and when we debrief with the client it’s the total opposite. The client said that the candidate didn’t even answer the questions. Because you’re nervous, which is normal, you tend to not answer the question. That is why you don’t execute and don’t do well. That is why my biggest advice – zip the lip. Be concise. Execute. Answer the question. Provide an example. And then stop talking.


Hopefully, that gives you a tip for interviewing and thank you notes. I’ve got great content on my blog and website and definitely check out my eCourse. It is 60 videos, 70 worksheets about anything you need to know to find a job like a pro. I’m very proud of that myself and it will definitely help you in your job hunt process. Use the coupon code “PODCAST” to get a 400$ discount. Have a good week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *