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Steer clear of ‘gasbag syndrome’

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Ever notice a tendency to blabber about your team, yourself or your organization instead of actually interviewing a job candidate? Welcome to the most common blunder in hiring.

In fact, on the first day of Samuel Alito’s confirmation hearings for a job on the U.S. Supreme Court, 13 of 15 senators charged with interviewing the Supreme Court candidate talked more than he did.

Here’s how to recognize this syndrome and fix it:

Clue 1: Blabby interviewers remember the warm, fuzzy feeling of being listened to, but later can’t dredge up too many facts about the candidate.

Remedy: Ask candidates to describe specific experiences. Bite your tongue while they answer. Or ask a few questions up front, and wait to see if they can manage more than one question at a time.

Clue 2: A positive first impression often leads interviewers to let down their guard. They make a snap judgment that this is the right person for the job, then ask leading questions to reinforce their impression.

Remedy: Invite your team member who will work most closely with the candidate to sit in on the interview. Not only will your colleague be able to redirect questions and answers, but you’ll be less likely to blather on.

Clue 3: A savvy job candidate pitches you a compliment that charms or distracts you.

Remedy: Don’t bite. Thank the candidate, and move on with your questions.

—Adapted from “Babbling Interviewer Disease,” Ann Marsh, Business 2.0.

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