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you may want to prepare a little better next time – how not to approach an interview

The weather can make us all do funny things.

For one, I am not sure what possesses the average English “gent” to strip off and go topless at every given opportunity through the summer – nothing looks worse than a blotchy red tomato coming at you down the street – or, when the rain comes a calling, for people to find the biggest umbrella they possibly can, and use it both as a weapon and tent, bashing in to everyone they pass and feeling that in some way it is a direct reflection of their overall manhood! – what e ver!

The weather too, could be a factor in the odd behaviour of the intervewee candidate, as they do their best to both enthuse and WOW, in the brief 30 mins that an interview provides, fighting for the position that will allow them to climb the next rung on the corporate ladder, and update their CV accordingly with flowery descriptions of progress made.

There is however, the somewhat (I would think) obvious point that you want to prepare a little before arriving – just enough to show you have done some research, just stopping short of reciting the entire venues history verbatim from what was written on the website….the balance is key.

I recently interviewed someone for a vacant position, and came away a little perplexed, to say the least, with what had gone on through the minutes (that seemed like hours) that had passed. No eye contact, one word answers, a CV that didnt match the personality of the candidate that was sitting opposite me, a suit that didnt fit….the list went on – and I came away hoping that this was a one off, offering after request some constructive feedback.

I am aware that interviews can be difficult, and people need time to size up their surroundings. I have met people who enter as one type of person and have then left as themselves. Here too there is a balance that needs to be struck. My advice would be to also hold back from the opposite approach to the above, talking yourself up in the first few moments of meeting a potential employer, and then having to look blank faced when you are asked questions based on the information you have provided – and being caught short. You can write whatever you like on a CV, but if you get to the interview stage, you can be sure you’d better be able to give strong back up to your claims and history.

Be careful here too – I talk a lot, m friends will testify to that. It is the reason why, in interviews I have trained myself to answer the question, and not be afraid of a few second of silence that may then follow before the next question is asking – the feeling that hours have passed, and resisting the urge to then start speaking again to fill the silence….big mistake!

Meeting with the candidate from a very large hotel, what became clear very quickly was that although the events space was extremely large and the events held of VIP importance, the candidate actually had little to do with them, larger external event companies being brought in to co ordinate proceedings, and little changing from year to year. By all means name drop “awards ceremonies”,  “celebrities”, “1500 people” – but I am going to want to know what “you” did to really make a mark on the event process, or what you did to take this vast knowledge you have obtained and helped to mentor and guide the more junior members of your team….you would be surprised at how often the sound of the tumble weeds passing through the room can be heard with ultimate clarity.

The long and short is this. Be honest, be yourself. Smile and project a confidence that doesn’t cross in to arrogance, an inquisitive nature that doesnt imply you havent taken an interest in the wider company and not just the role itself. Have a relevant question or three to ask in return, and – as a personal pet peeve, question whether follow up emails are required, thanking me for my time, and then double checking that I havent forgotten about you…..dont talk for talking sake

(I would be happy to answer any questions “you out there” may have, drop me a line and I will come back to you)


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