There's a battle going on in every first interview, but it's not the battle you're thinking of...
It's not the battle for the candidate to prove she can do the job, or prove that she's not overqualified in a down economy. It's not the struggle for the hiring manager to sell the company to the candidate he really, really wants.
The real battle is much simpler. It's the battle to see who's going to shut up and let the other person talk. Because whoever shuts up wins from two critical perspectives:
1. Information - if the other person is talking (candidate or interviewer), the person not talking is getting more data. Which is good.
2. Flow and Vibe - a funny thing happens when we're allowed to talk through the entire interview (especially if we're the interviewer) - we think it went great! Advantage candidate if the hiring manager dominated the conversation.
What the #*#$ is KD talking about? Allow me to explain.
Laurie riffed over at Punk Rock HR last week that candidates need to shut up. She's right. In every interview, there's a battle going on to see who's going to dominate the airtime. Laurie gave candidates the advice in her post that they need to stop talking so much. If I'm the agent for the candidate (which Laurie is more than I at this point), I have to agree. Coax the hiring manager to talk about himself.
If you're a candidate and the hiring manager spends 45 minutes of the interview talking about himself, the company or his Harley, there's only one reaction. Let him.
The hiring manager that dominated the conversation (and it happens a lot, lot more than you might think) is going to come out of the interview saying you're a great candidate. After all, he just got to talk about what's important to him for 45 minutes and you agreed with him on every point. You clearly have what it takes to move to the next steps in his eyes.
Well played, player.
While Laurie reps candidates more than I do (Sackett told me it's unethical to coach candidates in my VP of HR role, after all), I can clearly coach hiring managers. Here's the coaching - after your next interview, ask yourself the following question - "Did I structure the interview and set expectations where the candidate understood that 80% of the time he or she would be talking? Did I execute on that plan?"
If you're a hiring manager and even go close to a 50/50 split in talking when compared to the candidate, you've lost the battle. You're going to think it went a lot better than it actually did.
Why? Because we love to hear ourselves talk as interviewers.
Because clearly, you're an all-star, so get your game on, go play....
Stay thirsty, my friend. And stop domineering interviews as a hiring manager.