The Cult of Oversharing
We are awash with information at our every turn these days – in our private lives, on social media, in the workplace. There is sometimes almost too much exposure and too much information available to use. It can cloud judgement and make us all addicted.
Blogs and opinion pieces proliferate, and bloggers themselves become famous based on the ‘what we think of what they think’. Sounds crazy, right?
This brings me to the space I of late inhabit.
I am working in a well established recruitment business in a provincial city. I have both the privilege and the challenge of meeting people, gaining information fro them and applying a range of methods to identify their competence, motivation and ability to transfer skill to succeed in a new role. If successful at interview they will progress to the next stage – meeting the client - and with each step along the way, getting ever closer to securing that elusive ‘next step’ or gaining a new role.
Clients retain recruiters as ‘experts’ to apply applying a fair and defensible process for all applicants. –with new sets of tasks and responsibilities, where they will need to succeed, unable to rely of the framework to succeed they have to date.
This means I am asking probing questions and reviewing responses.
This puts me in quite a position of trust. I hear a lot of things (in fact, I would expect to).
I would like to make two observations about information. Largely who is entrusted with it and how much is relevant to share. And that the cult of information overload may in fact be leading us all to make a few critical errors in our judgement.
At interview at times I hear absolute disclosure. About not only job roles, but martial affairs, bullying by colleagues, medication for depression and the treatment of health issues. I see bank statements and hear about custody battles, I am asked to comment on government policy and Centrelink, I hear gossip allegations of indiscretions in business and aspersions cast on team members or the perceived financial stability or safety practices of other organisations.
My point is that I hear this every week. Some of it is in context. Much however, is oversharing, and on probing is conjecture and third hand. Perhaps on the notion that if you sound like you know, the recruiter will think you are an ‘expert’
The role of a recruiter is to apply a rule of critical thinking. This extends to how you process information, your confidentiality and capacity to select what information is a ‘nice to have, versus need to have. As awash with information as well all are, the temptation to feel information sharing is what binds us together and sharing makes us complicit with each other. NOT TRUE.
Interviews with agencies (and the next step with clients) still need restraint, respect and a degree of formality. Yes, try to engage with your interviewer and create warmth or rapport. No, to oversharing and trying to create a sense of familiarity to get a foot in the door.
Familiarity breeds contempt, as my Nanna would say. Professionalism, manners and a degree of neutrality and unbiased responses will garner much more respect. After all it is the best time to demonstrate what your ethics are and what you will bring to the culture of your new employer. Gossip, speculation and breaking commercial in confidence rules with no due basis have never been top of the list on any job brief I have seen in the past 20 years.
Information is a powerful tool. Used wisely in interview it will deliver you a platform to shine a light on your abilities and get you the next step forward to working within a business and environment that inspires and challenges you.
Senior Recruitment Executive