This sounds counter intuitive. How can there be too much talk in interview? That’s what a good interview’s about, isn’t it? The answer to that question depends on who’s doing the talking. If you’re not doing any, and you’re interviewer is, then there’s potentially a problem. Because despite everything the interviewer talks about, they’ll never really tell you the answer to the one question you should have at this point- which is, should you actually take this job?
Let me give you a few live interview examples. Then I’ll tell how the job turned out.
Too much interview talk – example one
I once had an interview where I walked in and shook hands and said nothing from then on. It was funny, before going in I was actually very nervous. It turns out I needn’t have worried about the interview. For an hour the interviewer talked. She talked about the organisation. She talked about the challenges of the job. She complained about the people who were currently in the job. She talked about herself. She glanced at my resume for exactly 3.5 seconds then she offered me the job. Foolishly I said yes.
Too much interview talk – example two
This one came after I had been through two behavioural interviews, and a series of aptitude tests. My soon to be boss took me through the call centre. He told me about that. We walked through the accounts department. He told me about that. We went into the training department. He told me about that. We went to the shop front. He told me about that. Then he told me about himself. And that was it. No questions about me. At this point, again, I accepted the job. The other interviewers had given me a reasonable run down of the role, but I did think it was strange that my potential boss didn’t seem interested in me.
Too much interview talk – example three
Tiffany Beames is the sister of a friend. I interviewed her for an article I wrote for the Australian – what interviews foretell? Tiffany said her interviewer talked mainly about her star signs in interview and said it was great that Tiffany was a Virgo, because that made her hardworking and easy to manipulate. Tiffany took that job. She felt they were astrologically compatible.
What can you tell from too much talk from your interviewer?
The interview over talker in example 1 was actually a bully. Unbeknownst to me, she had sacked my two predecessors. She was so disorganised that she had only gotten around to interviewing someone, me, two days before she needed to. She offered the job of two people to me, one part –timer. Yes I know, alarm bells alarm bells, but I wanted the job.
The interview over talker in example 2 was a major company man. He’d started at 17, and at the age of 35, had never held another job. He just loved the company and would do whatever he could to promote it.
The interview over talker in example 3 turned out to be as disorganised on the job as she was in the interview. Tiffany lasted about 6 months. Unfortunately her astrological forecast didn’t predict that ending.
The common theme here is that there is no common theme, apart from one – desperation from the interviewer. All three interviewers needed to fill that position fast.
So what can you do when you’re faced with an over talker? An interview although often conversational, isn’t a conversation. You’re not really in a position to really interrupt a full on stream of consciousness as you may in other circumstances. But here are a few things to think about before you rush to say yes to the job.
- While the interviewer may be judging you, you do need to ask, how are they assessing you? Do they really think you’d be a fit for the role, if you haven’t had a chance to speak? Nobody, no matter how stunning they are as a candidate, is good enough to be offered the job on the spot. Sorry, as flattering as it is to be so desirable. That’s a fact.
- The flip side of this is that nobody is such a good judge of character that they can assess you on the spot. That’s also a fact.
- Sometimes people talk too much when they are not comfortable around people. Again this seems counter intuitive. If you think about it, while they’re doing a lot of talking, they’re not doing a lot of asking, which means they cannot be questioned. Listening to you, may mean they have to change their view, that can be confronting to some people.
- Sometimes people talk too much, when they’re not interested in you, possibly plain old fashioned self obsession. I think we’re all guilty of that. But perhaps in a boss, you’d like them to be interested in what you can contribute as an employee.
The most practical question of all to think about here is, why does the interviewer want to fill the job so quickly?
Get the interviewer started on that one question and it’s most likely you’ll get one long answer filled with food for thought!