“It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday. You have been called to an interview for
your dream job. In a stunning office thirteen floors above the city
below, you are all alone with the man interviewing you. Everyone else
has gone home for the weekend.The interview gets more and more
disturbing. You’re feeling scared.Your only way out is to answer a
seemingly impossible question.” The Interview -C. Ewan. But it
doesn’t have to be that dramatic to be a nightmare.
It’s a two day candidate selection process. All the candidates gather
together for a welcome and briefing from the chief executive. You
leant two things in the first two minutes, the chief executive thinks
the process is a wast of time and there is an internal candidate. Is
this person a shoe-in and are you only here to make up the numbers or
have they only been given an interview because they have been acting
up for the last three months? By mid morning you have your answer.
Is there anything worst than going for an interview only to feel
that the decision has already been made?
Once you’re there even if it going badly, even if you know you
could never work for this boss, even if the job is very different to
how it was described you still feel the need to give a good
performance. Why? In my case pride, they may have already made their
mind up to give this job to some one else but I’m damned if I am going
to make it easy for them. Secondly the recruitment world is a small
community when it come to senior and specialist posts especially if
you’re focused on a geographical area. In other words you are likely
to bump into the same recruitment consultants and people on interview
panels regularly network with senior people in other similar
organisations. It’s surprising how often people are approached
informally to apply for a senior post because some one has spoken
positively about their performance in another interview.
As someone who frequently sat on the other side of the recruitment
table there is nothing more disappointing and frustrating than
realising early in an interview that a candidate has greatly
exaggerated their experience and revels under basic questioning that
they have claimed a far bigger role in the successes of previous
organisations than is the reality. Disappointing because they looked
so promising on paper, frustrating because they have taken up a place
on the shortlist that should have gone to a more honest candidate.
Plus we still have to go through the process of each panel member
asking their questions, an hour of listening to bullshit answers. This
type of candidate thinks the more they talk the better their chance of
getting the job!
What should candidates and recruiters take away from this? All to
often people are seduced by a striking / inspiring advert and headline
salary. Candidates need to do their homework on the organisation they
are considering working for because once they have invested time and
energy into applying they are reluctant to withdraw from the process
even though the job isn’t what they thought it was and if appointed
they would not be a good fit.
An effective long listing process where the aim is to discuss with
the candidate their application form and supporting info would weed
out those who can’t backup claims made in their application.