can you ask an interviewer to stop talking so much?

A reader writes:

I recently had a job interview where I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask about the role and the firm that were going to be pretty important in my decision with whether to continue with the process.

The interview was booked for a 45-minute time slot, and the interviewer asked what questions I had right at the top. I asked my first question, and the interviewer took 20 minutes to answer it. She technically answered the question, but also then rambled about several different topics that were only tangentially related. It was clear that I wouldn’t have time to get through even close to all of the questions I had if she continued answering at that pace, especially since I needed to leave time for her to ask me questions too.

Is there a polite way to say, “I have a lot of questions I’d really like to get answered, so could you be more succinct” in situations like this?

It depends on the purpose of the interview.

If this meeting was framed as primarily for you to get your own questions answered, then one option was to say, “I want to be mindful of our time, and I have a bunch of other questions I was curious about — would you mind if I jumped to the next one?” You’d have to find the right moment to say that so you weren’t cutting her off mid-sentence. But if the rambling continued after that, probably all you could do was write off the meeting and try to get your questions answered by someone else later on. However, if this interviewer was the hiring manager, realize that you were getting a lot of information about what it would be like to work for her, even if it wasn’t the info you had intended to ask for.

But if the meeting was framed as a standard interview where she would be interviewing you, not the other way around, I’d be more worried that she wasn’t going to have any time to actually do that … which could put you at a real disadvantage (especially if different interviewers were talking with other candidates and could cite clear and compelling reasons for moving them forward, whereas she’d be less able to do that with you if she talked the whole time).

I know that you needed to ask your own questions to decide whether you wanted to continue in the hiring process or not … but you might not have even gotten the option to move forward if she never got around to interviewing you. So given that, I’d prioritize moving the conversation back to an actual interview so you could talk about what you’d bring to the role. And then if you were contacted to move to the next stage, you could say, “I did want to ask about X and Y before we move forward.” (And of course, you can always ask for time for your own questions if you get a job offer … but if you’re rejected there isn’t a way to say, “Hey, you didn’t ask anything about me! Can we set up another interview where you ask about my experience?”)

So if it was supposed to be an interview, then once the extent of the rambling became clear, ideally you would have jumped in and said something like:

* “Well, I know you have a lot of questions for me and I don’t want to take up all your time on my questions.”
* “I could ask questions about the role all day, but I know you have questions for me.”
* “That’s all great info, thank you. So what can I tell you to help you figure out if I’m the right match for what you need?”
* “Based on what you’ve said, why don’t I tell you a bit about similar work I’ve done and how I could help with the projects you’ve described?”

That said, some people are incorrigible ramblers and if your attempts to redirect didn’t work, there wasn’t a lot more you could do right in the moment, given the dynamics of interviews. But sometimes a well-timed “why don’t I tell you about…” can give you back some control.

{ 83 comments… read them below }

    1. bennie*

      i really struggle to work with people like this, i’m sorry. my boss is one, bless her soul, but we easily waste 30% of her day just listening to her pontificate because she is a “talk through-er”. i understand some people need these talk sessions but it makes it hard not to resent her because i get off track all the time because she needs to “talk at me” about stuff. yes, this is really the wording she uses.

      1. rinathin*

        I am also a “talk through-er” but prefer to talk to myself instead of trapping some poor human. There’s a theory in programming called “rubber ducky debug” where you talk to a rubber ducky or some other inanimate object of your choice — perhaps gift your boss a rubber ducky and explain the theory so she can “talk at” the rubber ducky (effectively herself) instead?

        1. KRM*

          This. I definitely need to talk things out, but 95% of the time it’s TO MYSELF because nobody needs to sit through that. And the other 5% often happens when my boss and I are brainstorming in meetings.

        2. ferrina*

          Yes! I love wfh, because I can talk to my cats. My chatting is much less distracting for them than for my poor coworkers!

        3. KGD*

          Me too! I feel too awkward talking out loud to myself, so I tend to journal when I don’t have anyone to chat things through with. One of the most helpful things I learned in therapy was to do my own thinking/talking through before approaching my husband about big topics. He is very decisive and quick to move to solutions, which can feel really alienating to me when I still haven’t sorted out the details of the problem in my mind. So now if I know I’m not ready to pick a solution, I either talk to someone else or journal about it. I go to my husband when I already know what I want to do, so we can debate our preferred solutions and pick the best one. It’s been great for our communication and overall happiness – I don’t feel steamrolled and he doesn’t die of boredom while I talk through all the angles of an issue.

        4. Chilipepper Attitude*

          I am also a “talk-through-er” and I will talk to myself or ASK someone to think out loud with me. I realized that I was this way while in college; I found myself writing papers by standing up and walking and talking to myself. I think you really have to know you do this and adjust rather than make others suffer! I know I’m preaching to the choir but still, don’t do this!

      2. Michelle Smith*

        This was a big problem for me with my last boss. I would get so frustrated because we’d spend half the meeting talking about my first agenda item only for him to feel unprepared to make a decision. Then I’d have to hunt him down (virtually, since I worked from home) for weeks after to try and get a final decision so I could move forward. I couldn’t work like that.

      1. TrixM*

        So much love for how they weaponised Uncle Colm’s superpower against Liam! Neesom! in the latest series of Derry Girls!

    2. turquoisecow*

      I was just in a meeting with one of these. Knows his stuff but completely incapable of being succinct.

    3. Here for the Insurance*

      Our big boss is a rambler. No matter the subject of a meeting, no matter who’s supposed to run it, he just sits there blabbing away, happy as a clam, and nobody can get a word in. He’s got a “history of my time at the agency and how we built it to be world class” routine that goes 45 minutes and I’ve heard at least 1/2 dozen times now.

      I’d have lost my mind already if I worked with him daily. But I only see him occasionally so I just use the meetings as a chance to practice my feigned attention meditation.

  1. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    I had an interview once where they just rambled on for nearly 2 hours, neither asking me a question nor really answering any of mine. They offered me the job the same day. I ran far far away.

    1. BasketcaseNZ*

      I wish I had done that with a role I interviewed for where I barely got two words in before the already planned to be brief (about 25 minutes, it was for a contracting role) “interview” was cut short at 15 minutes because the hiring manager had been late and then also double booked himself.
      I was offered the job the same day and took it.
      Biggest employment-related mistake of my entire life (and thats considering the summer job where we had to clock in 15 minutes before opening to set the store up, but weren’t paid until the store opened).

      1. TrixM*

        Sorry, how tf did they manage to have you *clock on* and then not pay the time on your timecard?
        Assuming this is NZ, I know the unions had their faults in the past, but they’re pretty great now. Or a discreet call to whatever they’re calling the Labour Dept these days. If they’re not paying you properly, there’s bound to be other stuff worth looking into.
        I’m sure that was only one of many things wrong in that job, so yay it’s in the past, but wow, I wish younger people knew more about their rights (of course, that’s one reason why various scumbag employers prefer young employees).

        1. BasketcaseNZ*

          Oh, we rioted. One of the summer students was a second year Law Student and when she quit in a rage because nice conversation couldn’t fix it, she launched an action.
          All of a sudden, we were all being paid for the hours we were actually there. No back pay though, because they couldn’t prove how much any of us might be owed.
          Sadly, they shifted to general bullying after that. Was surprisingly glad when that role ended suddenly at New Years. One of those ones where four weeks of one university summer was enough to stick in my mind still, 20 years later.

    2. ThisIshRightHere*

      OMG this exact thing happened to me a couple months ago! I really needed a job and was scared to turn it down (but was more scared to accept it).

  2. Tired of Working*

    I am reminded of an interview I had where the interviewer said, “Oh, I see you went to X College. My daughter went there, too!” And he just talked and talked about his daughter. Whenever I tried to change the subject, he ignored me and kept on talking about her. At the end of the interview, he said that he would make his decision on whether or not to hire me based on the interview and what my references would say about me.

    I did not get the job.

    1. michelenyc*

      I had an interview where the hiring director only asked me about who met when I worked at Nike and if I had ever met Michael Jordan.

  3. MoveAlongNothingToSeeHere*

    I was once interviewed by a panel for a brand new position, and when I asked about a process for reviewing the new job description after a period of time to ensure that it was indeed reflecting the actual work, one of the panel members went *off* on me for 10 minutes about how if she only did what her job description said, she’d be done working before lunch, etc.

    I was offered the job, but the HR person offering me the position let me know I was their third choice, and that the first two had turned the job down. Gee I wonder why?

    Also, I turned it down because life is too short for that.

    1. Jasmine Clark*

      Omg, that’s hilarious. So at least three people turned them down… I wonder if the company realized THEY are the problem??

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      Oh, good grief. My standard practice is to review all brand new position descriptions at 6 and 12 months to make sure we got them right and that the job description accurately reflects where the role spends the vast majority of it’s time. A new position description is fairly theoretical until we try it out and see if it’s accurate.

      All our job descriptions have the old “other duties as assigned” line, but I get much better candidates and performance when I can accurately and thoroughly describe to them what their core responsibilities are.

    3. Nunna*

      Dodged a bullet there! Good for you. That was a very intelligent and relevant question to ask.

      I understand jobs evolve over time and practically everyone does more than their actual description, but she totally missed your meaning.

  4. Leave a Message at the Beep*

    If this is how the interview goes, imagine how a work day goes! And can you function in that type of workplace? I couldn’t.

  5. Quack*

    I would recommend following up via email with your questions – ideally they will respond in writing which will typically be more succint. Alternatively, they might set up another call to answer. Either way, it gives them time to “talk through it” with themselves before talking to you again

    1. ferrina*

      +1. Email is definitely the right route, especially if you have “a lot” of questions. Most candidates have a handful of questions, and it’s good to layout what kinds of questions you have

      1. Sloanicota*

        it’s hard bc obviously taking a job is one of the biggest decisions you can make (and the wrong job can really ruin your life!) – but you’re really not going to get more than an hour of someone’s time, maybe two half-hours of two people’s time, to get your questions answered.

  6. Snarkus Aurelius*

    I sat in an interview for 1 hour, 45 minutes where the interviewer didn’t ask me a single question. I applied to be a tutor in a specific foreign language at a local high school. This woman talked about everything: the LGBTQ policy, anti-bullying practices, the Socratic method, HR practices, Title IX, where the bathrooms were, a trans student, the dress code, conflict resolution…

    Three highlights:

    1) another tutor walked in and my interviewer didn’t even know her name despite being a direct report of hers.

    2) every tutor was required to use the Socratic method when a student asked a question. (I didn’t realize that high school students had preconceived, unexamined opinions on verb conjugations.)

    3) she never verified that I knew the language I claimed to speak.

    At the end of the interview, she told me where to go to get fingerprinted and submit to a background check. After those two things cleared, she told me to show up the following Monday in her office after dismissal.

    I never did. I wonder if she noticed.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Did she not think she was interviewing you and just thought that you were there for orientation or something?
      Makes me think of the principal who interviewed me for the wrong role. I was there for an admin position and she started interviewing me for some teacher assistant thing. I have no teaching degree or background. It was 15 minutes into the interview before we realized we were talking about different roles.

    2. Texan In Exile*

      “every tutor was required to use the Socratic method when a student asked a question”

      I had a boss who would do this with me. I finally had to tell him that I was neither stupid nor inexperienced and knew how to figure things out for myself. If I had resorted to coming to him for the answer, it was because I could not find it and all I wanted was for him to tell me where we stored the damn binder clips.

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        But *why* are the binder clips important? If they wanted to be found by you, where would they be? Is being in your possession the best place for them?

  7. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    I had an interview earlier this week where one of the execs present was incredibly slow, halting, and long-winded in his speech. This is something that destroys my nerves to sit and listen to. I understand that some people are just like this, but I really struggle with staying focused on what they’re saying. I actually butted into his tangential monologue at one point to try to get the conversation back on track, and everyone else in attendance seemed pleasantly surprised. I imagine they all are pretty accustomed his meandering and time-sucking. (I was not really feeling it by that point, and I already have a decent job, so I wasn’t that worried about being “polite.” Which is good, because I haven’t received an offer or any follow-up, lol)

    1. New Mom*

      This is what my sister is like in both social and professional situations. She will ramble and ramble. Usually a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end but when my sister is talking she’ll start at the end or middle, then go on tangents, then the beginning, then random fact that has nothing to do with the story, then repeat part of the story, then jump around etc. And I’ll get so confused that I’ll have to interrupt her wall of words to ask clarifying questions because I’m so lost. Unfortunately, it’s not something that she is willing to work on and has had a hard few years at jobs and has been let go from two for, according to her, “no reason”.

  8. Smithy*

    I was fairly far along in an interview process right when COVID hit, so it was paused for a few months and then “one last” interview was set when the process resumed. At this stage I’d basically had all of my official interviews, but COVID was COVID – so was far less prepared technically for what this interview might include.

    And as it turned out also emotionally.

    For the first 45 minutes or so the two of us just did COVID “how are you” chat. The rambling wasn’t completely one sided, but when the hiring manager went “now turning to the interview questions” – I felt like I must have been yapping for ages. Overall the interview lasted a hour and a half, I felt ridiculous, but also felt that emotionally I clearly wasn’t prepared to start a new job if that was how I was handling normal interview intro questions.

    While I didn’t get the job, it turned out they didn’t hire anyone and later I heard from someone else it was a pretty bad place to work. So while no damage done, it certainly was a personal lesson about how those moments for “ask your questions” and “how are you doing today” are still within those more traditional power constraints. Not that you shouldn’t ask all the questions you need to know! But being able to to follow up by email or at later interviews or even post offer may sometimes be the best place for certain questions.

    1. PsychNurse*

      Your response is refreshing. Because it seems that almost all of us are able to identify OTHER people who ramble or don’t know how to conduct the interview. Logic and math tell me that many of us in the comments are the ramblers and don’t realize it. Your story shows a high level of self-awareness.

      1. Quinalla*

        Agreed, I know I can tend to ramble and it is something I am actively working on improving. For me I really want to explain so the person understands and fully answer their question. I have not taken over an interview like this example or the LW, but I’ve definitely supplied a 10 minute answer when a 2-3 minute one would probably have been just fine. Something that helps me is stopping before going into more detail and saying, “Does that answer your question or do you want me to expand on anything?” so the questioner has the option for more or not.

      2. allathian*

        Oh yes. I’m a rambler, and I know it. When we got a new manager 18 months ago, in our first 1:1 I told her that I know I have a tendency to ramble, and to please tell me to stop when I stray too far from the point. I’ve also told my coworkers the same thing. They’ve been great about it, and now I’m self-aware enough that I sometimes stop myself mid-sentence and redirect myself back to the point. But I admit that I needed some help getting there.

  9. Fiddlesticks*

    ^This^. Seriously, it’s one of the main reasons I left my last job. My boss was a wonderful person, but he HAD to verbally process every idea he had, right that moment, through another person nearby. Half the time, he’d come to the conclusion that it was actually a bad idea, and we shouldn’t do whatever it was he’d just thought of. Meanwhile, his victim had just been pulled out of their thoughts and workflow for 20 minutes, and was rarely asked for any input – just functioned as a warm body who had to listen.

    I hate ramblers. Get to the point, or put it in an email, or best of all, think it through in your own mind without involving other people until you’re sure about what you need to say.

    1. ferrina*

      I knew someone who was married to that guy! He never stopped talking and always wanted to be talking at someone. Her marriage was one big monologue. She finally had to get divorced to get it to stop.

      (Not judging verbal processers- I am one- but be sympathetic to your audience!)

      1. Nina*

        I had that issue with an early partner – we both had a deep-seated need to finish the train of thought we had (both autistic and ADHD – it was a disaster for other reasons) and the trouble with that is that if you keep talking after you’ve convinced someone you’re right, they think you’re arguing. So we agreed that if convincing had to happen, the convincee could indicate when they were convinced, or certain they would not be convinced, and the convincer could then finish their line of discussion or not as they pleased, with the knowledge that nobody was really listening to them anymore.

        1. londonedit*

          My mum is like this (just one of the many reasons why we’re all convinced she has un-officially-diagnosed ADHD!) She’ll say something, you’ll say ‘Oh yes, sure, makes sense’ and then she’ll go on telling you the same thing three different ways while you say ‘Yes, I know, you said, yep, totally agree…’. It definitely does feel like she’s arguing, because once I’ve said ‘Yes, I agree’ once I don’t need another three explanations of the same opinion! But in her head she isn’t arguing, she just can’t stop until she’s finished every single version of the train of thought she’s on.

    2. irene adler*

      My now retired boss was a major verbal processor. To the point you got few words in. He had lots of ideas, and we’d get stuck for hours (not an exaggeration) wondering when he would end the monologue. I’d have to make up the hours after everyone left for the day (deadlines!). He’d follow one around all over the building, just prattling away.

      We often fantasized about dressing up a store manikin and putting this into his office as something for him to ‘verbally process’ all his thoughts at. In his case, not much different really from an actual listener.

  10. ferrina*

    How many questions did you have? Usually you only get the chance to ask 2-3 questions in an interview, maybe a couple more. It’s important to know which of your questions need to be prioritized in case you run out of time, and which can wait (either because they might be answered later in the process, or because their importance is contingent on other questions/factors).

    The interviewer talked waaaaaay too much, but also make sure that you’re budgeting your question time.

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      I think part of the problem was the interviewer ask for her questions first. I typically have a decent list of questions going in, and most of them do get answered naturally during the interview. By the end I usually only have a few things that didn’t get addressed. But if I had to start with mine, there would be a lot.

  11. Punk*

    I’m currently interviewing and I think my biggest source of stress and frustration is how much time I’m losing while I listen to other people talk. It’s even worse when you’re dealing with external recruiters. They never want to communicate over email so you have to carve out a chunk of time so they can give you their full spiel, but they’re not actually hiring or interviewing you so they aren’t practiced in stopping so you can respond. And then they want to have more long phone calls every step of the way.

    I’m not someone who hates the concept of a job interview. I value the opportunity to answer and ask questions. But in this round of interviewing, I’ve become conscious of how hiring managers and recruiters are sucking up hours if my life by expecting me to sit there silently while they talk.

    1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      I refuse to do any phone calls before I have some basic information. I hear from so many recruiters who just want to talktalktalk before I even know important details of the job, like work location. This is a big country! If they absolutely insist on a phone call, I politely decline. There are plenty of other jobs out there.

    2. TrixM*

      Just say no. Tell them to summarise the role in an email with salary range, location, etc, and that you’ll discuss after that. Then they get ONE call, if you decide to move forward, about application logistics. (Obviously there may be others as you move through the recruitment process.)
      This applies to third party recruiters, not so much the organisation’s HR dept. But for external recruiters, it’s in their interest to get the best quality candidates. You owe them absolutely nothing at all.

  12. Llama Llama*

    Ugh. So this makes you know that if you were to take this job, you would have to deal with a rambler. I have to deal with two ramblers on a constant basis and they drive me nuts. I *may* have been making fun of one of them today with my grandboss.

  13. Esmeralda*

    For my current position (lateral move within same department), I was able to ask exactly two questions during the panel and only because I pretended we weren’t at the end of our time. If I had been an external candidate I would have been royally pissed off, because it was not an INTERview. Partly it was because one of the interviewers rambled, but also because the case study piece was ridiculously long and repetitive. (four case studies…one would have been sufficient)

    I also find, as an interviewer, that the kinds of questions candidates ask is itself information. How well have they prepared? What are they interested in or concerned about? are the questions superficial or are they getting at really important issues?

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Oh yes. I’ve not done much hiring, but when hiring a babysitter, I chose the one who asked “how do you know the baby’s fast asleep enough to put her down without her waking up?” The question was fantastic because it showed that
      -she wasn’t going to just put the baby in her bed and leave her there
      -she wasn’t going to let the baby cry
      -she knew this could be a problem
      -she was conscientious
      She was lovely, the kids cried when she left.

  14. Craig*

    Oh, man, this reminds me of the worst interview(er) I ever had. She talked non-stop from the moment I came in to the moment I left. I hardly got a word in edgeways, and I’m not sure she asked a single question the whole time. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the job.

    Some people are just like that, unfortunately, and some people are really bad at interviewing. Probably this is not a good sign about what she would be like to work for.

    1. Grouchy scientist*

      I interviewed with someone like this, and DID get the job! However, all the warnings about what it would be like to work for such a person are correct.

  15. Jules*

    I had a weird interview the other day when the interviewer (and hiring manager) seemed utterly unprepared (also they were so under-dressed that I suspect they forgot the interview time??), and just asked me to ask them any question. But all my questions were answered with some variety of “I am actually new here myself so I’m not sure I can answer that…”. The interviewer didn’t ask me any questions. It was really strange. They still offered me a second interview with somebody else (acknowledging they couldn’t answer my questions) but then disappeared when I gave them my availability. My takeaway is that you can’t teach someone to interview properly as an interviewee (I hire a lot of people myself and think I know quite a bit about good interviewing), if they are really bad at interviewing they are also likely not great at management in general, and it’s a bullet dodged if it doesn’t work out.

    1. gnomic heresy*

      So many red flags:
      -Didn’t know they were going to be interviewing you. (Disorganization at best; at worst no one told them there was a position open for nefarious reasons.)
      -Hiring manager hasn’t been there long enough to know what the job they’re hiring for is. (Unsustainable growth at best; at worst, they just fired the hiring manager and this person is just a stand-in until they fire them too.)
      -Just passed you through the first round without asking if you were qualified. (Guaranteed they’re doing that with everyone else… including that newly-hired hiring manager.)
      -Totally agree that if someone can’t interview it casts doubt on their management ability.

      1. linger*

        And “disappeared” probably means they haven’t yet found anyone able to do the interviews properly.

  16. I’m an Incorrigible Ramblin’ Man*

    The incorrigible rambler – I had a final interview day with much of the team. All team interviews went great. But One Guy seemed off and distracted and rambling. I tried a few times, “This reminds me of similar work I’ve done in this area…” to no avail. He finally snapped to life taking about local hiking trails & wrote down my favorite trails. It was so strange. I got the job & found out that had been his last week. So that explained his lack of interest in my job qualifications.

    1. BubbleTea*

      I once got a job after interviewing with someone who was moving to a different role (it was a perfectly good interview and they were open about it). It was a disaster because it was clear the new manager would never had hired me. The interviewer told me she had chosen me over two candidates with more experience because she was impressed by my ideas and enthusiasm. The new manager hated me having ideas and wanted me to magically know all the unwritten rules without her telling me. I did not make it through my probation period and will never again accept a job without meeting the person I’ll actually report to.

  17. mad banjo band*

    I’ve been on (nearly) the opposite side of the table on this one. I sometimes help recruit for really technical positions in my field: hour-long initial interviews in a field where it’s considered poor form to end interviews too early (and word would get around).

    Once every couple of years I have someone give wildly incorrect answers to the opening softball questions: after clarifying and making sure I understood their answer correctly, I’m stuck: I know five minutes into the hour interview that they interviewee is not going to proceed to the next round, and continuing to ask them technical questions is just going to make them feel bad (they’re usually already pretty flustered by the clarifying questions at this point). I usually flip into “filibuster about what I thought was neat about their prior work and tell them about my organization” mode until I’ve taken enough time that I can mercifully end the interview.

    1. TrixM*

      That’s really weird. One of the best things about IT is that most of the interview is technical and you can very rapidly detect if someone is completely wrong for the role.

      While I’ve never taken less than half an hour with someone who couldn’t even answer the first question, for some, the interview didn’t last any longer. I’ve always worked with an introductory spiel about the org and team, and then a standard list of questions for each set of interviews. If someone seems to have misunderstood a question or obviously knows the area but forgotten a technical term in the moment, I will coach them a little, but if it seems that every question is going that way, I tend to just stick to the basic format.

      An obvious set of standard questions is useful, because then you can exit from the “no way in hell” interviews with, “Well, we got through those nice and quickly! Do you have any questions about the role?” Maybe they can keep blathering on for the remainder of the interview, trying to sell themselves, but for those with any social nous, it’s normally pretty damn clear they struggled with the basics, and they keep it mercifully brief.

      For the people who know that they’re talking about, their answers tend to be more full, and often lead to supplementary discussions that help reveal if they’re guru-class or just fine.

      But with a standard format you obviously adhere to for each candidate, I can’t see how that news about shorter interviews “getting around” would cause problems. If it were me as a candidate, I’d appreciate that we wouldn’t be wasting each other’s time.

  18. 15 Pieces of Flair*

    Adding the counterpoint that I’ve gotten several jobs after letting the interviewer ramble when my qualifications had already been vetted in earlier stages. I’ve found that the more time an interviewer spends trying to sell you on the job, the better your chances of an offer.

  19. Esmeralda*

    OP 1. She asked you because you’re 21 and, I’m guessing here, you frequently defer to her. She didn’t ask your older sister because, I’m guessing here, your sister has a history of saying “no” to your mom. Maybe she thinks your sister is more likely to take charge, whereas you’d be more collaborative.

    Perhaps also because she sees you as “the creative one” and thus better able to generate ideas.

    Don’t do it!

  20. sneaky*

    Oh man! I had an interview with a CRO (I would be the HRBP for his department, so supporting but not reporting to him) and it was the first interview in my life that felt totally unproductive. I’d done my research had loads of questions if needed/opportunity arose, had a few things I really wanted to ask, key things I wanted to hit on/highlight in my answers etc. It was on zoom. He was late (less than 5 min), then talked for probably 20 out of the 25 we had? About issues now and issues he anticipated as the team would grow, what he wanted out of me/the role and then I had about 5 minutes (which I had to cut in to get) where I basically listed all the things he’d just said he wanted and some brief examples of how I did it in the past or what I’d want to bring in to fix them.

    I was SOOOO tempted to cut him off 5-10 min in and talk about myself, show off the things I’d written down that I wanted to prove lol, but figured hey if I can nod, agree and generally breeze though this and show I can listen well let’s give that a go. I got the job, but it felt so unproductive. Later I learned it was more of a culture fit/personality fit between the two of us kind of interview and wanted someone warm & approachable who would be easy for the team to reach out to, and I’d already passed the “she knows her stuff/HR side of the house” interviews.

    1. sneaky*

      Oh and about half way though the interview I realized I was learning a lot about him, how he handles things (performance, termination, praise, leadership style etc) which really answered a lot of my questions, I just din’t get credit for “seeming prepared”. I was so sure I failed because I didn’t get to talk much or prove myself, later worrying maybe he wanted me to step in and be more bold/commanding.

  21. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

    I was sent on a few interviews by a headhunter. In one, the interviewer rambled (without prompting) about the company, it’s history, etc. for about 30 minutes. Then he finally said “So, tell me about your teapot design experience.” I replied “I am a teapot engineer, not a designer.” We figured that the headhunter had thrown me at the job opening like a piece of spaghetti and hoped that I stuck. The interviewer gracefully interviewed me as an engineer, but in the end either they didn’t have any engineer openings, or I wasn’t a fit, or he was just too thrown off.

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