Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I wish behaviour like this was weeded out in the interview process. It is really damaging to teams and productivity and I would estimate most people won't try to fix it like OP has tried.

If I weeded people out based on their talking too much in Zoom meetings, I would lose a fair number of my best people. I don't think this would make it into the top 20 red flags to look for in an interview.

To me, one of the most reliable ways to blow your interview is to just keep talking and talking, never providing any sort of re-entry window into the conversation for your interviewer. Double-bad if you are not actually answering the question, and just spouting your prepared speech. This happens so often that I think it must be something these unfortunate candidates are learning somewhere.

Zoom makes this even worse than in person, as the software often won't even let you insert yourself into someone else's stream-of-consciousness word salad to help them course-correct.

I would love it if interviews were structured in a way like it’s an actual conversation.

Unfortunately a lot of companies treat them like a pop quiz, ask everyone the same 10 questions, which are mapped to 10 selection criteria and evaluate their 10 mostly prepared responses.

Good interviewers will have a bunch of questions as prompts, but generally ask a lot of follow-ups.

I blame the STAR method mostly, the concept that you have instant recall of past experiences in a high pressure situation, indexed by the questions the company is going to ask, is absolutely crazy. I wonder if there’s been any research into “tell me about a conflict and how you resolved it” type behavioural questions and whether they are effective. Even the most dramatic of employee knows how to tone it down, rewrite/make up scenarios to pass these types of questions.

Out of curiosity, what would your top red flags be?

No way. Interviews are totally different conversations than team meetings. And I would go so far as to say that if people talking too much is "really damaging to teams and productivity", that is a failure of the team leadership, and they should work on that with the offending participants. Online meeting social skills are important but a lot of people who are really good at their job don't have those skills (yet!)

In an agile/scrum context, what leadership is there in a team to do this? In scrum ceremonies, the scrum master should handle the direction of the meetings but lots of meetings/video calls happen outside these meetings.

Interesting perspective.

I can only speak for myself of course: The issue only happens in online meetings and probably only with specific teams. So, I would have "slipped through", if your interview process is in-person.

It starts with the awareness in my opinion. There are people who talk a lot and enjoy dominating the conversation. I wrote an extensive FAQ on why Unblah is not for them.

Those who (like me) talk a lot but are painfully aware – I think aren't extremely damaging. I hope.

It's probably more common as the person becomes more familiar with the group -- at least it is for me. That'll make it hard or impossible to identify during interviews.

I've been trying not to speak at all during meetings, instead following up in chat. As a bonus, this means there's a searchable record of the details, and thus is far more valuable than any in person or video meeting could ever be.

> It's probably more common as the person becomes more familiar with the group -- at least it is for me. That'll make it hard or impossible to identify during interviews.


> I've been trying not to speak at all during meetings, instead following up in chat.

How does that work? I mean, interpersonally?

I've always been on small teams so I think it works ok, but I guess it could be an unfair burden for my coworkers. Maybe I should ask.

You're someone who has recognised it and built a tool using the skills you have. I doubt you are damaging to a team at all! In fact, it's impressive.

Yeah I feel like I am suffering with this with my teammates. How passive aggressive it would be if I shared this with my colleagues at work?

To answer your question without knowing any context: I would err on the side of it being received as rather passive aggressive.

I do not recommend using the app (especially not without context) as a proxy for a difficult conversation that may have to happen.

Since the question came up earlier, here is my full take on this situation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32097859

Depending on how you did it, you could be quite “aggressive”!

“Dave, found the perfect app for you!” is aggressive. “Wow I might start using this app!” Is better.

> “Wow I might start using this app!” Is better.

Yeah I thought about going this way.

Try talking with them instead. Use mediation, not a proxy.

The colleague talking seems to be the problem :)

GP is supposed to mediate while at work while their colleague is talking in circles?

Yes, that is literally how you solve interpersonal problems. You pull the person aside and discuss the problem.

It was a small joke. That is a very simplistic view of the world. That approach may solve your problem but it also may not.

Congratulations! You're committing the Fundamental Attribution Error[0]!

Corporate meetings are traditionally structured to accommodate those who talk too much in meetings, but they could be structured differently. Deliberate facilitation, for example "taking stack"[1]," can help the puzzle pieces of panel of diverse personalities find their place in contributing maximally to the tasks at hand. Heck, sometimes it's as easy as setting expectations or as simple (albeit not necessarily easy) as establishing an environment of psychological safety[2] in which coworkers feel comfortable pushing back on antisocial behavior, eg asking "can you not interrupt me?"

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error

1. https://techresources.shoestringcollective.com/collaborate/t...

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_safety

Did you mean to reply to me? I am not committing the Fundamental Attribution Error.

I tend to agree with the parent. I am a rather shy person who did not naturally talk much during meetings and I had to train to be able to elaborate on simple questions for hiring interviews, because that is what is expected in the interview process. The goal of a hiring interview is to find out as much as possible about you, not to get yes/no answers to pointed questions, and making your interviewers come up with more and more questions to make you keep going is sure to leave a bad impression and cost you the job.

People who talk at length during hiring interviews are not necessarily "people who talk at length in meetings", they are doing that because that's what hiring interviews are about. You are misattributing cause.

You sure are! Presuming that this behavior can be "weeded out" because it's a fundamental attribute of the candidate, rather than a behavioral response to the working environment is a perfect example of the error.

Interesting. I had no idea there was a name for this behavior. Thanks for the link.

I imagine it would go like this:

    > Candidate answered all my questions thoroughly. Do not hire.

Interviews are a very specific beast that is rarely duplicated in the work place besides when your butt is on the line in a conversation, which is still different.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2024

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact