Avoid Being An Interview Hostage-Taking Talker

I’m at the gym six days a week. I don’t consider myself a gym rat, I do what I’ve got to do to overcome the “…for/at your age….” thing.  If you are over a certain number, you know what I’m talking about:

“You look good…for your age”

“You should expect not to ______ at your age”

Screw that, I want to look good for me, not some expectation. And having a birthday this month, I don’t give a darn what the stupid number is, I’m stronger, healthier, more tone and defined than I was 20 numbers ago. So take that “for/at your age”.

This wasn’t the point of this article, just a side rant. 

Back on track: while I’m at the gym, I don’t talk. I’m not a mean person, I’m not a rude person. I like to do my thing and really, I don’t want people coming that close. I mean, c’mon, I’m there sweating – gyms are not full of pleasant aromas.

Anyway, I’m at the gym this morning on the treadmill, Boo doing his weights and I noticed as soon as he stepped up to a machine, he got the attention of a talker.

If you’re a gym person, do you have one of these at your gym – the person who starts talking and won’t let you go? They are the hostage-taker talker.

This one was a pro. I mean he never stopped!  Boo would go to another machine, kept talking. Walk across the gym, kept talking.  For a good 45 minutes – kept talking.

By the way, if you don’t know if your gym has one of these, you might want to see if it is you.

I know some people like to converse between reps. Cool. But seriously, I think the gentleman burned more calories talking than he did working out.

And just because my mind works this way, it got me thinking about interviewing.

Hang with me here.

All too often interviewees become talker hostage-takers. They get sidetracked from a question, go down a rabbit hole, and then end up taking the interviewer hostage on a rampage for a long, long time which leads to nowhere.

I’ve done it. I think it is a nervous thing. But more importantly – how do you stop it?

  1. Recognize that you’re going down that path.
  2. STOP.  Stop talking. Right now. Stop the momentum.
  3. Collect yourself. Breathe.
  4. Look the interviewer in the eye and smile.
  5. Tell them “I’m sorry, I have no idea how I got so far off course, let me go back and answer only what you asked”
  6. Give a short, concise answer.
  7. Let it go.

Here’s the thing – unlike at the gym where you might be avoided like the plague – if you move on, this incident will, in all likelihood, be forgotten by the interviewer.

We have all said something stupid or gone down a rabbit hole, so don’t beat yourself up about it. The trick is to stop the train and regroup quickly without batting an eye.

It’s even better if you can add a bit of humor or self-depreciation – just a bit. I’ve started my back-on-track with “Wow, not sure how I got here!” or “The blonde went a little too deep this time….”

A bit of humor (if appropriate) gives the appearance of confidence and humility that you can laugh at yourself but get right back on track.

On your next interview, be the hero, not the talker hostage-taker.

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As an award winning, published, Resume Writer & Career Coach I help amazing people get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views are my own (unless attributed). They are also normally spot and have a touch of humor because I’m obsessive about career topics and my dog thinks I’m hilarious, not just his meal ticket.

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