Its You

Not long ago I wrote about some silly things employers do to mash up the recruitment process. You can read that here

In all fairness though it helps to balance the equation by reporting on a few things I’ve experienced (I’ve been recruiting a long time) that candidates do. It seems there is plenty of blame to go around the system when we look at the inefficacy of talent acquisition.

In plain English, don’t do these things.

  • Come Unprepared. There is little you can do to sink your candidacy faster than arrive late, unawareness or unprepared. You should remember the name of the role you’re interviewing for. It helps to remember our company name as well (yes, candidates have forgotten this helpful bit of information). You should be able to say succinctly what it is you have in experience or education that will match the role. You should be able to say something. You are promoting you, remember?
  • Be Argumentative. I love a good debate as much as anyone, but in the right forum. This is an interview not the Jerry Springer show. If asked something you don’t understand, gently reconnect or ask for clarity If asked something you don’t agree with, please handle diplomatically. Given the interview is 45-60 minutes long if you can’t keep your calm for that short bit, why would we ever hire you.
  • Be Under the Influence. Yes, it happens. Drugs, alcohol, bat droppings, who knows what, but more than one candidate has impressed us in the wrong way by obviously not being in clear command of their faculties. While this sounds humorous in the abstract in reality its sad and dangerous. If you can’t be sober for an interview you don’t possibly have a problem, you do have a problem. Get help. And know that in some circumstances we will have to call the authorities (or a taxi) to get you home. Nothing’s funny about impaired drivers.
  • Be Underdressed. Even in the creative age you need to look appropriately dressed and groomed for the role you’re seeking. While this standard varies depending on your field and location, you should know what it is, and be one step above it. You have plenty of time to not shave, dress down, or wear your hair shirt after being hired: until then clean it up. And use deodorant.
  • Don’t Ask Questions. Want to put the final nail in the coffin? Have no intelligent questions for us. Why are you here if you have not enough interest to generate a handful of standard questions that will frankly lend themselves to recycling from one interview to the next. Show a minimum of interest by asking about us, the role, the need and the culture. Or don’t bother showing up.

Interviews are statistically one of the worst ways to predict future job success – the correlation between interview and performance is weak – and yet we all do it.

So while we do our part as employers to improve the candidate experience (and there is a lot we need to do…) please do yours: the above are cardinal sins you should not commit lest you find yourself on Santa’s naughty list in 2015.

Happy hunting.


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