Interviews from Hell 

“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. 
 
Blair McPherson former Director author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk 

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