Dealing with interviewer who won’t shut up – blah blah blah

  • Post published:08/09/2021
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Shut upIf you are the interviewer and you talk too much?

Showing up at the interview with only the candidate’s resume is the road to hell.

Stop trusting your gut and take the interview process seriously.

Follow a plan, prepare your interview agenda and stick to it and have written questions to ensure you remember to get all the important points covered.

To give yourself a fair chance of assessing the experience and skills of the candidate, prepare at least 20 questions that are linked directly to the required competencies.

Sticking to these questions, though in any order as you gain more experience, will also ensure that you ask all the candidates for the particular position the very same questions and thereby gain a better chance to compare.

Email your candidate before interviewing

EmailThe best-in-class recruiters and HR departments will email the candidate with tips on how to prepare for the interview; whether it’s the interview with the recruitment company or the corporate talent acquisition.

Inform the candidate that it’s not a competition about who has the best memory; suggest to the candidate to bring their resume, a pen and paper for note taking, but also other supporting documents (which could be examples of performance, candidate’s own questions etc). You may even recommend how to dress for the interview.

The email should confirm the date and time, the place of the interview, who to ask for at the reception, who will be the interviewer and finally also a telephone number to call in case of unexpected delay on the way to the interview.

The four-step interview agenda

  1. Welcome and an introduction to your company. Not details of the job yet.
  2. Question the candidate’s background and expertise. That is the heart of the interview.
  3. Introducing the job description, the department, expectations.
  4. The next step after this interview; when will an update be given.

As a candidate, how do you deal with an interviewer who talks too much?

I started interviewing candidates 35 years ago for the company I worked for in Jakarta at the time.

For the last nearly 20 years, I have made a living as a headhunter, helping clients find and assessing candidates for management positions in Thailand. Here’s what I’ve learned.

I am still flabbergasted when I hear the horror stories from candidates who talk about their job interview experiences.

Many decided to turn down offers from such companies because of the unprofessional and amateurish interview processes they experienced. 

It’s a nightmare and a challenge

InterviewingYour first warning is when an interviewer comes into the room with nothing but your resume. Even if that much.

If the interviewer did not bring pen and paper to note your answers or if the interviewer clearly does not use prepared questions, it spells trouble ahead.

If you haven’t lost the motivation already, if you still want to give the company a chance, if you like to give them the benefit of the doubt, you need to take charge and be very assertive.

You need to politely interrupt the interviewer. Say something like: “Sorry, I like to interrupt. I have something important that I would really like to tell you. It’s a great example of what I have done in a previous job.”

Then go on and talk about your experiences, perhaps present some documents that support your point. And be prepared to interrupt again and again. Good luck.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.