Dear Matt: During a recent interview, the interviewer spoke the entire time and didn’t really ask me any questions. They seemed nervous. In this situation, how do I get a word in and show what I’m capable of and why I am the right fit for this job?
Matt says: Not every HR person is skilled — or thrilled — to be conducting interviews. In some cases the HR person could be a fill-in, they could be flat out exhausted from their 10th interview of the week, or they simply could be like you — a bit nervous because they haven’t mastered the interview process themselves.
“Some interviewers are nervous, or busy or sometimes are so excited and passionate about what they do they end up talking during much of the interview,” said Elizabeth Laukka (elizabethlaukka.com), a Twin Cities-based recruiter and career adviser who specializes in placing top advertising, public relations and digital talent.
“And of course there are the few that just love hearing themselves talk.”
After leaving an interview like that, you may wonder, “did they ever get to know me?” and “how will they know I am right for the position?”
Twin Cities-based career coach Cindy Edwards (tofindyourfit.com) is putting on a free speed interviewing workshop on Monday, Jan. 28 from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. at Berean Baptist Church in Burnsville (must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org). One of the topics is interview response techniques, like these, which she recommends using when there is an opportunity to interject in a one-sided interview:
• “It sounds like you are very good at anticipating the immediate needs of others, I too enjoy jumping in to help, can you tell me about how the team works together to make decisions?”
• “I value delivering quality service to customers, can you give me an example of how the work reflects the company values you stated or the values stated on your website?”
• “I have direct experience using the process and tools you mentioned, are all teams within the organization using those?”
Even if you get frustrated with the situation, remember the importance of nonverbal communication. Don’t slouch in your chair, roll your eyes or drift off. Your professional demeanor can go a long way in portraying you as the right candidate.
“Even if you feel like you have not been heard, the interviewers are subconsciously watching all these other cues,” said Laukka.
Always be sure to end the interview on a strong note, says Edwards. “Leave a strong, lasting impression by restating your strengths at the end of the interview,” she said. “Tell them why you’re the best person for the job — and thank them for their time.”
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