It doesn’t matter what side of the table you’re sitting on, interviews are soul-destroying beasts from which the weak and ill-prepared rarely recover.
Responding to the question ‘what was your worst interview experience’ on Reddit, there was the story of…
- The candidate lying about stealing a toaster because the interviewer didn’t believe he’d never stolen anything
- The interviewer who ended a phone interview with ‘love you, sugarlips’
- The candidate who was asked to name their favourite sports team during an interview at a sports bar and knowing nothing about sport, replied with ‘basketball’
- The interviewer who rejected the candidate, by WhatsApp, during the interview…
And there are thousands more interview horror stories we can regale you with, but we’re a recruitment company so it’s our job to prepare you properly. And by ‘you’ we mean candidates and clients because it’s a two-way street and you’ll be surprised how many go into these things woefully under-prepared.
Candidates – READ THIS
Here what you should do:
Find out as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing for. Make sure you know what they do and how they do it. Download their annual report and find out about their visions, goals and corporate ethos. You’re not just going for a job, you’re trying to immerse yourself into a corporate culture.
Surf gear isn’t great if you’re trying to get a job in accounts at a law firm and a suit isn’t really necessary if you’re trying for a role at a funky digital agency. This is interview 101 stuff but you’ll be amazed at how many people get this wrong.
Know Where You’re Going
Make sure you plan your journey and if necessary, do a recce the day before so you know how long it takes and where the entrance is. There’s nothing worse than rocking up with a minute to spare, sweaty and out of breath. It ain’t a good look.
Every interviewer will have their own interview style. Some will fire question after question at you and some will lead you down a path where you have to talk about yourself, what you bring to the role and the benefits to them of employing you. But, don’t allow yourself to babble on incoherently for 20 minutes or give any negative reasons why you shouldn’t be hired.
Prepare For Any Eventuality
By the law of averages, you’ll get rejected more times than you’ll be accepted. If it’s a no, don’t throw a wobbly and turn the interviewer’s desk over and if it’s a yes, don’t run round and hug the interviewer. Neither are cool things to do.
To help you, we’ve prepared some information docs about the different types of interviews you’re likely to face:
Interviewers – READ THIS
Here’s what you should do:
Make sure you know the key responsibilities of the role you’re interviewing for and have a list of questions ready that pertain to that job. You’ll no doubt have read the CV of the person coming in so you’ll know a little about them and that will give the nervous tyke sitting across from you a little comfort in what can often be an excruciating process.
Ask Behavioural Questions
The candidates favourite books, movies or football team are great for bantz, but these facts won’t give you any sort of insight into how they work. Questions starting with ‘tell me about a time when you….’ are great indicators of past performance which in turn are great indicators of future success.
Let Them Talk
As we said in the ‘what not to do’ list, it’s the candidate’s time to talk, not yours. They don’t care where you’ve worked before, what celebrities you’ve met or where you went to school. A rule of thumb is 30:70 where you talk for 30% of the time and allow the candidate – as nervous as they might be – to finish sentences and be comfortable with the way the conversation is going.
Offer the candidate a drink, ask if their journey was OK, be on time, give them a tour of the office and if it’s appropriate, introduce them to whomsoever you pass in the corridors. Just be nice. You’d get mighty annoyed if you weren’t extended the same courtesy should you find yourself in the job market.
Your body language, eye contact and other non-verbal forms of communication are as interesting to the candidate as theirs are to you. A firm handshake, maintaining eye contact, a straight back, keeping your arms and legs uncrossed and smiling are easy wins in an interview. Just because you’re the one seemingly holding all the cards doesn’t give you an excuse to slack.
‘Body language can have a big impact on the way you’re perceived by others, especially at work. It can seem silly but there are psychological reasons behind it, so thinking about how you’re carrying and expressing yourself at the office shouldn’t be forgotten.’
Rosemary Haefner, Chief HR Officer, CareerBuilder
This is the bugbear of every single candidate who didn’t get the job. Taking five minutes out of your day to tell unsuccessful candidates they didn’t get the job (and perhaps some feedback as to why) is the very least you can do. Again, it’s common courtesy and you don’t want to be that guy.
The thing is, there are no hard and fast rules about interviewing and as we said, everyone has their own ways of doing things. Candidates are always nervous and interviewers always want to get back to whatever it was they were doing but for an hour every now and again, do the right thing because the pay-off can be mutually beneficial.
Just an FYI, but here’s what NOT to do in an interview if you’re a candidate:
- Lie. You’re not that bright and you’ll get caught out. Everyone does.
- Answer a WhatsApp message from your mum.
- Come across as a big-shot. You’re not.
- Chew gum or pull out a Pepperami because you didn’t get lunch.
- Wear flip-flops unless you’re interviewing to be a lifeguard.
- Call the interviewer ‘mate’ or ‘love’.
And here’s what not to do if you’re an interviewer:
- Don’t wing it by making up spurious, irrelevant questions.
- You’re not an amateur psychologist, don’t pretend to be one.
- Don’t make a biased decision based on someone’s shoes or how pretty the candidate is.
- It’s not about you. Don’t babble or tell the candidate your life story.
- Make sure you have the candidate’s CV and you know their name.
- Don’t single out the negatives.
Catch you soon.
The Liquid Team