Beware of the Gabber

Some salespeople simply don’t know when to shut up!

Recently I had set aside an hour to do an interview with a sales candidate. Now I do a pretty thorough interview and I came prepared with a list of 30 or so questions I like to get answered.

I usually start off with a brief review of the timelines in a candidate’s resume so that we are on common and comfortable ground. With this particular individual, what should have been a brief five-minute review turned into a 20-minute monologue that not only broke the job timelines down to the year, but I swear, he got down to days and minutes before he was done.

Every short question was met with a long answer. On at least three occasions, I mentioned that I was getting pressed for time, but he wasn’t to be deterred. I was to get the whole story and nothing less would do.

My time was running out by the tenth question and I was now ten minutes late for moving on. I mentioned that fact to the candidate as he followed me out to my car where he spent another five minutes thanking me and engaging in further chitchat.

When I was finally able to extricate myself from the fellow, I called the recruiter and told him to send the candidate the standard no-thanks letter. And, if he asked, he should tell the candidate that he talked himself out of a job.

Overly social salespeople are quite unaware that they are wasting other people’s time. Don’t hire them. You don’t want them wasting your customer’s time.

That experience taught me a valuable lesson and that is to…

Set an Interview Time Limit

Whenever I’m tasked to do an interview with someone who I suspect as being over-social, I use the following technique to see if the person has the condition under control.

After the initial pleasantries, I set the scene by telling the candidate that I must be done the interview at a particular time and that I have thirty questions that I need to get answered.

If I find that I’m getting overly long answers, I’ll mention that I don’t want to run out of time and I need to move along. I’ll give the candidate two, maybe three, of these warnings. If he doesn’t pick up on the fact that he needs to tighten up on his responses, I let the interview time run out and mentally disqualify the candidate.

If the candidate isn’t perceptive enough to realize the value of my time, he won’t respect my customer’s time either. We all live in the same busy world where time is at a premium and none of us wants our time wasted by an overly social salesperson.

There’s nothing wrong with being over social, just as long as the person knows when to rein it in and get it under control.

There’s nothing worse than a salesperson’s mouth running wild.