Help Wanted - Witty and Sometimes Jaded Benefits/Wellness Professionals Who Want to Blog Weekly....
Microsoft Focuses on Apple Stereotyping, Hopefully Fires Seinfeld...

You Talk Too Much, Homeboy You Never Shut Up...

So I'm filling a spot last week in our organization, white collar position (that's as deep as I'll go to protect the guilty and innocent), fun one to work because I get to talk to a lot of cool people who have done some groovy stuff in their careers.

Here's how the funnel went:

-Sourced 37 names that fit the profile within the state I was targeting...Talktoomuch1

-Shared the raw background of the 37 with the hiring manager by grouping them into 5 profiles so it wasn't overwhelming.

-Hiring manager likes 11 candidates from 4 profiles..

-I go into sales mode, smiling and dialing, and emailing.  Pump it up time ("I've got a great opportunity"...).  Remember how fortunate I am to work for a cool company, because everyone's interested...

-Phone interview 11 candidates, knock it down to the best 4 to present to the hiring manager and set up phone screens with the candidates and hiring manager.

-Hiring manager likes 2 the best, so we swiftly go into face to face interview mode.

-Candidate #1 is up, and blows the whole deal by domineering 95% of the air time in the interview.  Hiring manager calls me and says she's out.  "She can do the job", the hiring manager said, "but I don't think I would enjoy the association, because I think we would have a high maintenance type of employee."

So, there you have it.  Lots of good candidates, and this person wants the job, made it from 37 to 2, then promptly walks in to the interview and NEVER STOPS TALKING, with 5 minute rolling answers to each question.

To be sure, the candidate should talk more than the hiring manager in an interview.  However, the more white collar the position, the more you want the conversation vibe in the interview.  Good flow back and forth is key.  If you're a candidate reading this, give great detail to answer the question, but break around the 90-120 second mark to allow the interviewer to agree/disagree, or change the direction of the question and ask for further detail.  Don't worry, you'll still get your stuff in...

If you can do that, the interview will feel like a conversation, and the hiring manager's going to look at you like a colleague.  If you do nothing but talk and give big 5-minute answers, you've got no shot, especially if the targeted job is white collar and professional in nature. 

Or as the bards know as Run-DMC once said:

"Your mouth is big, size extra large..
and when you open it, it's like my Gaaaarage..."

Is that a haiku?  Probably not....  Seriously, STOP TALKING.  Take a breath once in a awhile, dude... 

And stop messing up my perfect search.  I want you to have the job!


Michael Haberman, SPHR

That advice works the other way too... far too many managers dominate the interview by talking to much, often in sales mode, or by being irrelvant. Candidates can also get turned off by this because they did not get a chance to sell themselves and feel the manager does not have enough information to make a decision.

laurie ruettimann

Angela missed white collor -- it should be 'white collar job'.

Props to Run DMC.


Meg Bear

I have long held the belief that when I'm a candidate the best interviews are those when I talk the least. Not b/c I don't have much to say (we all know that isn't true) but b/c when I'm interviewed by someone who does all the talking they tend to think I'm interesting and smart ;-).

Of course, I haven't been a candidate for years so I'm probably pretty rusty at the looking interested skill.


Laurie - I just fired my copy editor. Apparently, it's going to cost me more than I thought...

Meg - I always tell friends that if you have a hiring manager that wants to do all the talking, don't get frustrated. Smile, nod you head and act like you are having a great time. They'll think it went great. Of course, they have no idea if you're a fit or not... Darn details...

Mike - Do you think only the best candidates would be frustrated by what you described (I agree, BTW, was just playing it the other way for the post..)?

PS Meg, you're included in the "best", you're just smart enough to know when you have the advantage - no diva rule in your house, obviously....

The comments to this entry are closed.