Little Miss Chatterbox applies for a job

Last week was tough. I applied for a role and got rejected at the very final stage with some soul crushing feedback. I woke up at 3am for days in a row thinking about the comments and just thinking about it made me embarrassed. I realised it’s because the feedback touched on an insecurity I’ve had for years, decades in fact. But I’ve decided to try and flip the discomfort and embarrassment and own the feedback so here goes…

I got to a ‘casual coffee meeting’ stage of a recruitment process. I nailed the panel interview (including a 15m strategy presentation that I had just 12hrs to prepare) and my references were excellent. This was just a confirmation that I was right, right?

I prep for the coffee meeting. I look at the managers LinkedIn page and jot notes. He has interesting experiences I’d like to hear more about. I think about some questions I can ask so I can ascertain where he’s going to take the team and if it’s a direction I’m keen to go. I also want to understand the organisation’s drive for change- I’m not keen on change for compliance only.

I arrive at the venue. We shake hands. I ask how he’s settling into his new role and how different it is from his previous organisation. He replies. I ask more questions. I share relevant experiences. At the end of 30 mins I think it’s gone well. We’ve conversed. I understand a lot more about the business and his priorities. I’ve shared how I believe my experience can support his aims. I feel ok.

A day goes by and the dread sets in. A call late Friday afternoon confirms my fear. I’ve been found unsuitable. The words ‘not conservative enough’ echo in my ears. Apparently I talked too much, asked too many questions and didn’t let him lead the meeting. On that basis it’s determined I couldn’t effectively influence the leadership group. I’m crushed, but I gush that it’s fine, that culture fit is important blah blah blah.

But it’s not fine. After the madness of the witching hour is done and I jump in the shower, the tears start. I’ve let myself down again.

All my life I’ve been branded a chatterbox. It's always had a negative connotation for me and it’s something I’ve always been hyper-conscious of. One Christmas I got a pair of Little Miss Chatterbox pyjamas much to the amusement of my family. I think I laughed it off, but inside I was mortified.

I don’t talk deliberately to silence others. Quite the opposite! I love engaging with people and finding ways to connect with them. One of the ways I build empathy or demonstrate I’m listening is to share experiences so they know we have common ground. I also put myself out to make others feel comfortable, so if a group is standing awkwardly, I’ll be the one that wades in with some random question or comment.

I know people have fo