Question of the day: How do you handle the candidate who doesn't stop talking?

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This was one of the best questions from this week's #RBChat. What is your take recruiters?

How do you handle the candidate who doesn't stop talking?

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 I usually tell them, they lost me.  Since I am an agency recruiter, my job is to help them with their interviewing skills.  I also advise them to answer the question first and then if they feel the need to explain the answer they can, but at least the person they are interviewing with get the answer before they forgot the question.

I learned a long time ago that constant talking was a form of control.  It is particularly painful for me since I meet 99% of my candidates in person and the other 1% on Skype.  If they talk too long, I simply cut them off.  And then I rarely send them out.  As an aside, my favorite story is about a guy I sent who I didn't realize talked too much and he spent the whole interview with a client talking about his twin brother.  The client called and asked if he could meet the twin!

I will be curious what other people have to say.  I get this problem frequently.  I like my candidates to be excited and excitability and loquasity (is that a word?) go hand in hand for many people. 

I will tell them they need to be more concise in their speaking.  I will say it in a kind, helpful way.  I get 50/50 folks that appreciate the feedback and the other half are seriously not interested.  They really feel they need to control the situation so much they can't give up dominating the conversation by jabbering relentlessly. 

Depending on how forceful you want to be in combating overbearing loquacity, you might try silence and then making phone calls. When they cease to be the center of your attention, the odds are pretty good they'll be quiet. Or, you might interrupt them with something my Uncle Murray used to tell me, "Never overlook the opportunity to keep your mouth shut." If all else fails, declare the interview over and thank them for coming in. Yadda, yadda.

If they talk too much, I am very honest and tell them.  I explain that they should be listening more and talking less.  Sometimes they "get it" and some times they don't.  If they don't get it, I move on. 

Been there, done that many times. First, if they look good on paper and can talk about their accomplishments - somewhere in the blah blah - then I think they're worth presenting. If they talk a lot and say nothing, it's probably a lost cause.  I'll prep them and preach conciseness. Then I hope for the best and recruit like crazy for back up candidates. Who knows? My client may value their experience and overlook their flaw. At the very least, the candidate may give me some insight to the interview process that I didn't have.

The deeper issue is that talking too much is usually a character trait so you can coach a candidate for an interview but if they get the job it won’t be long until the employer pegs them as a chatter box.  A good listener should be able to discern if dominating the conversation is a flaw or nerves.      

I do the same. As an agency recruiter, I feel it is my role to offer my perspective on their overall presentation and communication style, among other things.  The same holds true if they speak too loudly(people four offices over can hear them despite the closed door).  I tell candidates that they have a unique opportunity to hear feedback from me, which they would otherwise not get if they were in the actual interview with the client.  Better to fix these issues on the front end (coach them), than not make the placement or worse, have the placement result in early termination before the fee guarantee period ends.  I also tell the candidates if their pants hems are coming loose (yes, i have done this) and anything else that needs to be addressed.  If the candidate is great on paper, and you think the hire can be successful, then address the issues and make it work!

 
Terra said:

 I usually tell them, they lost me.  Since I am an agency recruiter, my job is to help them with their interviewing skills.  I also advise them to answer the question first and then if they feel the need to explain the answer they can, but at least the person they are interviewing with get the answer before they forgot the question.

Hey Susan - where can I sign up for that gig? With the right incentive, I can speak about any subject for any length of time regardless of my knowledge of that subject.

Susan Hinchey Gantzer said:

I work with folks who bill by the hour - so unless I am paying them to talk they keep it brief. Sometimes, I need them to talk more, not less!

Politely interrupt them and tell them that they need to talk less. I would explain to them that if I was an employer and this was a phone interview that it would knock them out of consideration for the position. Some candidates feel the need to keep talking to make sure they are selling themselves. Others just love the sound of their own voice.

Susan -- Ah - say no more. You also probably handle surgeons.

Susan Hinchey Gantzer said:

Charlie - I share the same ability - funny to meet you here! The thing about my candidates is that they are attorneys, so they can cut right through any nonsense I try to throw at 'em - and believe me - I try.



Charlie Allenson said:

Hey Susan - where can I sign up for that gig? With the right incentive, I can speak about any subject for any length of time regardless of my knowledge of that subject.

Susan Hinchey Gantzer said:

I work with folks who bill by the hour - so unless I am paying them to talk they keep it brief. Sometimes, I need them to talk more, not less!

It strongly depends on what relationship or setting you and the other person are in but I feel that in general...

If you're in a position that you're coaching and developing his/her interview skills, (kindly) interrupting and giving the candidate some constructive criticism is (in my opinion) much needed. Should you send that person out they represent you and your skill set so you probably want to make it as clear as possible that you're sending through professional and prepared candidates.

If you're interviewing the person in any fashion I find that it helps to preface the call or interaction with a time frame. If I tell you our phone, Skype, etc interview is going to be about 30mins and you spend 27.5 of those rambling or telling me excessive details about a minor accomplishment or impact you made...sorry to be the bad guy but at 30-35mins I'm going to thank you for your time and wrap up the call. Organization, time management, and effective communication are the soft skills that people forget they demonstrate the entire time an interview is taking place.

Plus, be honest. There are some questions that can be fully answered in a very detailed manner in 3 sentences. A five-minute speech isn't required.

Make more impact with fewer and more targeted responses; to be cliché "Less is more"

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