Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Adventures In Recruiting: The Candidate Who Talked Too Much

In a good and healthy interview, the interviewer should talk about a third of the time so that there is some give and take.  The candidate has to be sure to answer the questions asked and not give too much information. 

I met an account director who I liked a lot.  I sent him to an agency where the Director of Human Resources was both a client and a friend.  I thought they would like each other and there was an appropriate opening at the agency.

My candidate must have gotten nervous.  I have learned that talking too much is a sign of nervousness and is a form of control.  If one talks a lot, then the other person cannot speak enough to have control.

But talking too much and answering more than you were asked, can backfire. 

The head of HR asked my candidate to tell him about himself.  And so, my candidate did….
It seems he was a twin.  His brother got the good grades in school.  His brother was better looking and got the girls.  The brother was chosen for teams first.  They both went to Ivy colleges, although my candidate felt that his brother got the better education.  The candidate went on to talk about his career, which was excellent, although he did talk about his brother’s career in slightly jealous tones (the brother was not in advertising).

The candidate called me afterwards to tell me that he thought the interview went well; it had lasted about forty minutes and he was anxious for next steps.

I called my client for feedback. Indeed, the interview went for about forty minutes, but the HR Director told me that the candidate talked for about 35 minutes.  He told me that the candidate had spent the bulk of that time talking about his twin.

At the end of the debrief, my client asked me if I could recruit the brother….

You just can’t make this stuff up.


  1. What a great story! Thanks for the laugh.

  2. Thanks for this! I often fear talking too much out of nervousness. I tend to stay on the topics asked, but I also probably come off a little... too enthusiastic. I like to learn everything about a company and the workers there before I go in for the interview - and in doing so I believe I come across too strong.

    Great post, it helps to have this from a recruiters perspective!

    Wm Travis Stephens

  3. William: Thanks for your note. As a planner, I am sure you understand the concept of staying on strategy. It is no different in recruiting. If you know your own story (I posted this many months ago) and can stay within it, you should interview well. Just make sure that when you are interviewing you establish a dialog with the interviewer.


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