Working in recruitment I’ve heard plenty of hilarious interview stories from my colleagues and their candidates.
This article is designed to let you know that mistakes do happen and also to provide you with some tips to help you prevent these mishaps from happening in the first place.
Here are some great examples of interview fails that I’ve heard in the past few months:
“I was hit by a car”
A candidate was running late for their interview and instead of being honest they decided to call us and say they had been hit by a car! This can happen, so naturally we were very concerned for them. However, two days later they attended another interview with a different company and seemed to be absolutely fine. Pretty suspicious we thought…
“My nerves got the better of me”
A very nervous candidate arrived for her interview and was called in shortly afterwards. As soon as the questions came rolling in her lip began to shake and she started to cry! It took the interviewers 15 minutes of consoling to calm the poor girl down. We understand how terrifying interviews can be; so there’s no shame in this. The problem is she didn’t prepare for the role and thought that she was interviewing for a position that the company doesn’t even have. As the old saying goes “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
“I thought the company would appreciate my casual approach” – The interview that inspired this articles main image
A candidate turned up to their interview and they were completely laid back in both their appearance and their approach. They came into the room and (this is no joke) they put their feet on the desk! He proceeded to continue with his nonchalant demeanour and seemed oblivious to how unorthodox his behaviour was. The candidate had an impressive CV and experience and appeared to genuinely want the job – so this was incredibly bizarre behaviour. I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide whether or not the candidate was placed…
How to prevent a bad interview from happening in the first place:
Do your homework:
It’s essential to study up before you go to your interview. The interviewers will not be impressed if you don’t know about what they do, who they work with, their mission and values and who their key clients are.
Ultimately, if you want to work there then you would have taken the time to learn about the company…
Most of us aren’t good liars and interviews are already high-pressure situations. If you find yourself making up answers as you go along, then I assure you your performance will suffer. Be honest, if the truth isn’t good enough then maybe you aren’t right for the role…
There are so many instances where candidates have failed due to irregularities in their CV and the answers they gave; which is embarrassing for everyone – including the agency that suggested you to the client.
If you aren’t sure what to wear then always go for the smarter option. There are some ‘edgy’ companies out there where you can probably interview in shorts and sandals; but as a precautionary measure it is always advisable to be smart and presentable.
This isn’t to say you can’t show some personality in your outfit, as how you dress is an insight into your character. I normally opt for some colourful socks, but they are always inside some smart shoes and accompanied by some smart trousers or chinos.
If you want the job and you want them to want you then you’re going to have to be enthusiastic. A lack of zeal is a real turn-off for employers. Would you want to hire someone who doesn’t seem keen?
Of course you have to highlight your accomplishments and paint a clear picture of how you will benefit the company. Just don’t bore your interviewers with a long list of why you’re so amazing.
Offer a strong handshake:
The thought of a weak handshake makes me shudder. There are few acts more nauseating than being offered a shuddering and limp hand. If you aren’t confident in your hand-shaking abilities then you should practice on a corporate friend and ask them to critique you. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t hurt the interviewers hand; but a solid short squeeze whilst you are looking in their eyes shows confidence – which goes a long way.
Ask insightful and topical questions:
At the end of the interview, you should always be asked if you have any questions. You will be assessed on their quality and it’s your opportunity to ask detailed and original questions that show your insight into the company and sector. You should have your questions planned out and you can even write them down and read from a bit of paper if need be. Don’t set-up-camp on pay-rises and annual leave – that doesn’t impress interviewers!
As the interview is drawing to a close you only have a few minutes to leave an impression, so you should endeavour to end it on a positive note. This could be as simple as saying something like, “I look forward to hearing from you” or “it was a pleasure meeting you all.”
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