Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

Bombing The Job Interview by Doing Too Much Of This?

You are excited!  You just snared the first "face to face" Interview with a Hiring Manager.  You passed the phone screen and now you are on your way to the "make or break" part of the process!  You can't wait to show that manager what you know!   You have studied their website, their competitors website and called people who work for the company to get a read on their company culture.  You  have developed a huge list of the best questions that a candidate could ever have! You can't wait to blow him away!  You are ready for that first "face to face" interview!!  But wait!  Could you be TOO ready? 

You are sitting in that Marriott Hotel lobby waiting for that hiring manager.  You are a little nervous, maybe even anxious, because YOU WANT THIS JOB!  It pays so much more than what your are making and the company is so much better than the one you are working for now.  Perhaps the tension and the stakes are even higher due to a job loss and your money is starting to drain down to really low levels in your bank account.  You feel the pressure.  YOU WANT, NO, YOU NEED THIS JOB!  You think to yourself, "He MUST see that I would be great for this job and that I prepared more than anyone else for this job!  I will show him how I am the best person for this job!  I want this job!"

As you sit in the lobby, calming your nerves, you look at each person trying to figure out if that is the guy, because that is all you know, he is a man in his 40's, from what your recruiter told you, and his name is John Walker.  It would have been nice if he had a LinkedIn Account with his picture on it!  

So you wait, watching the time blip ever so slowly from your clutched iPhone screen.  5 minutes until start time, 4 minutes to start time and finally the time comes and you think to yourself, "It is now, the interview time is now.  I know you should never be late for an interview, but where is he?  Am I in the right place?"  Time continues to click by and it is now 5 minutes past the interview start time.  Your mind races, "Should I call him and let him know I am here?  Should I call the recruiter?  Am I in the wrong Marriott?  Wrong day or wrong time?"  Tension begins to build, but then wait, you see a guy that looks like corporate type walking through the lobby and he appears to be looking for someone too.  You think to yourself, "Let's stand up and ask him if he is John Walker, if not, something is wrong."

As you approach the gentleman you begin to feel relief, he seems to be smiling and then he say's your name with an inquisitive look for confirmation.  Whew, the sweet feeling of relief, it is him!  You  are so relieved and nervous at the same time.  As you walk to the interview area with him, you realize that this is it.  You need to begin to impress him.  Immediately upon sitting down across from John, you begin to do what will be ultimately your demise in the interview.  You just can't help it.  You are not even aware of it, but within 5 to 10 minutes John realizes he has a potential problem candidate and an inkling that he wants to get you out of that interview fast and dump you.  John will try a few tricks to see if he can help you get on track, and will give you some clues.  After 25 to 30 minutes into the interview, John gives up and now tries to push your interview to a close to get rid of you. You are still VERY unaware of what you are doing.

So what in the world did you do wrong?  It is what you did too much of...TALK.  You took over the interview and wouldn't SHUT UP!  You sat down in front of John and he asked you if you had any questions before he started to INTERVIEW YOU.  You took that as a cue to begin to ask a ton of DETAILED questions about the company and job and never stopped.  John politely answered the first 3 or 4, but then he began to get nervous as he realized you were going to eat up his time to interview YOU.  You are there so he can interview YOU, not for you to show him how many smart questions or worse, how much you studied for the interview.  

John may have tried to get you to stop by saying, "Well, I am sure you have more questions, but let me ask you some questions now."  So you did, you let him ask the questions, but oh my!  You began doing it again!  John asked a question and your answer went on forever!  You talked, talked and talked.   You may have answered the question in some round about way, perhaps not.  You may have just spewed too much in trying to answer the question by adding information that didn't matter to John.  He just wants the damn question answered as succinctly as possible!  He is trying to find the red flags of your resume and you are giving him the biggest one right there in the interview. YOU WON'T SHUT UP and when you do talk, it is not even what he wants to know or hear!

After John has asked you a couple of questions, he will feel very frustrated.  He may even tell you that he will never get through HIS questions if you cannot be more bottom line in your responses.  More than likely, John will have already decided that you talk too much and he would never expose his customers to a person like you.  One that does not know how to listen and understand how to communicate properly, let alone try to do needs-based selling!  John gives up trying to get you to stop talking and now he is relieved; it is stressful trying to get someone to shut up preventing the interviewer from doing his job!  He is over you, now he can relax.

John sits back and peers at his watch letting you chat away.  He is going to end the interview and already looking at the resume of the next candidate.  You are too busy talking to notice he shifted some papers within his leather binder, placing your resume in the bottom of the pile, so he can at least get something accomplished during your interview by reviewing the resumes of others.  When you take a breath from talking, John abruptly stands up with his hand out to shake yours and promptly says, "Thanks so much, nice meeting you, but I do have another candidate waiting." 

You are surprised, maybe even shocked.  You reply, "Oh the interview is over?  I did not get a chance to show you my accomplishments or ask my other questions."

John merely replies, "I am sorry, but I told you throughout the interview that we had limited time to get to what I needed to know about you, but I think I have what I need.  Nice meeting you."

You try to close him, knowing something went wrong (hopefully) and you are out of time. "But John, I want this job! Can I meet with you again or have the next interview step?"  John simply replies, "I have more people to interview, the recruiter will get back to you, we simply ran out time."

You shake his hand, sensing this did not go well, but then thinking to yourself, "There really was not enough time to interview me properly.  John should have warned me when we got to the final 5 minutes of the time so I could have closed him better."  

After all, it is hard to keep track of time when you are doing all the talking!

(See our next article: Can YouCoach Someone To Shut Up During the Interview?)

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