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I have gone through a good number of interviews lately and I have noticed that employers love to talk about themselves. They love telling me how their company works, how the system is designed, what products they use within the company etc. A large portion of my interviews (not necessarily towards the end) are spent by the interviewers telling me essentially why their company is a great place to work.

My question is, can I use this trick of letting them talk about themselves and their companies to increase my chances of getting the job? For example, I could maybe ask them questions regarding a point they mentioned or ask them to elaborate more. I believe as a result of this, I might be bombarded with less questions from them due to time constraints; hence less chances of me giving wrong answers.

Do you think by not enabling them to know everything they had planned to know about me would leave them with a negative experience of me? Or since they are talking so keenly about themselves, it must mean that they like me already and are comfortable with how things are going?

  • Good idea: Responding to your interviewer's comments on the job you're interviewing for. Bad idea: Appearing passive at an interview. – Zibbobz Mar 3 '15 at 14:58
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There are advantages to this:

  • It gives you great opportunities to sell your skills on the context of the company. So they can tell you about this great project Apple they're working on with Banana technology, and you can use this say how experienced you are with Bananas, but have they considered using Oranges because of so-and-so, etc. It gives you something concrete to work with, and means that you're talking about specific skills and problems rather than vague ones.
  • You can find out more about the company - how do they operate? Do you like it? Do you think you can fit in?
  • As you acknowledged, less chance of you having to answer something, and less chance of you answering wrong.

However, all of these come at what I believe to be quite a large cost: much less chance of saying something right.

If you don't say much, you won't have the chance to impress them. You won't have the chance to tell them how great you are. You won't give them anything to remember you by. Interviewers remember things about people - "That guy with the experience at Massive Corp.", or "The woman who spoke five languages". You won't give them that hook by letting them do all the talking. It might not be a negative per se, but it's hardly a positive, because they don't come away with an impression of you.

Your best bet is to strike a balance - ask them questions about what they're doing, but use that extra knowledge to talk about yourself and things you've accomplished. Yes, they might think they want to spend the entire interview talking about the company and how amazeballs they are, but that's not going to be much use to them when they're deciding on candidates later and can't remember a thing about you. They might not realise what a bad interview they're conducting, if they're so busy singing their own praises, but if you play along to this, you'll know lots of things about them and they won't remember anything important you said - because you didn't say it.

The exception to this is when you've already had a more strenuous interview - for example, if this is your third round of interviews, you're an incredibly strong candidate, and now it's their turn to impress you sort of thing. But unless you've already had a good chance to sell yourself, don't waste your interview by coming across as unremarkable.

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    I agree. In addition, if you do end up working for them then don't complain about how they never listen to you. – emory Feb 26 '15 at 18:43
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Extremely effective - if you keep in mind that you're also interviewing them.

I talk a lot when I interview people because I want them to understand (as much as possible) what the job requires, so that 6 months later they're not disappointed and ready to jump ship.

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What I learned about interviews is that you try to sell yourself to the company. To hire someone is a huge risk, as it's not just your paycheck that is a cost attached to you, but also thing like equipment, traveling (if the jobs requires that), training and all that. If they hire the wrong person, they can end up paying for someone who either does not know what they are doing, or simply don't do anything at all.

As mentioned, it is an advantage for you, provided you use it. If they reveal something about what they do or need, and you fit it, shoot that info in. "Yes, I can do that! I can fill that role!". But also prove you actually can. If you claim to be good with computers, but actually just know how to surf facebook, you are worth nothing. But, if you say you do your own maintenance, have knowledge regarding many common software solutions and so on, you are suddenly at a greater state. Of course, do not lie or push the boundaries.

Be careful tho, it could be a trick. If you just sit there and barely say anything, it might just show them that you are nothing but a bobhead figure that just want to get things over with.

Those who hold the interview are the costumers, you are the salesman, trying to convince them why YOUR wares are the best ones.

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An appropriate question in response to something they've talked about shows you're paying attention, are able to think about and process what was said and shows you care enough to ask.

Be Careful. If they're talking because there are uncomfortable pauses in the conversation or you're only giving one word/limited responses, it doesn't look good for you. You're not demonstrating interest and show you haven't prepared yourself for the interview due to your inability to give adequate answers.

Also be careful about the interviewer who wants to waste time because you are not a suitable candidate and they feel a need to stretch the interview to the agreed time frame. Yes, they'd rather hear themselves talk instead of listening to you, but you're missing out on the opportunity to over-come their concerns. They may feel you don't have enough experience purely based on years in the field. You have a chance to make your best impression instead of the one that's not quite so bad.

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Note that this approach fails badly when you're facing someone using non-directive/open-ended interviewing techniques (which I've found I like a lot, I just wish my employer made more of that training available to non-managers).

Yes, you're also interviewing the company rep, but you need to give them reason to believe you have the skills they're looking for. Seeming to be afraid to try isn't exactly the impression you want to leave them with.

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