Original Post:

The email from the recruitment agency, via my colleague who handles all recruitment, came at 4pm.

It said:

“I’ve just come back into the office to find a message from Andrew. His meeting overran so he’s running late. Hopefully he won’t be more than 5 or 10 minutes.”

Andrew’s interview was 4pm. Receiving the email saying he was going to be late at the point the interview was going to start, wasn’t a good start.

Andrew was 15 minutes late in the end. It put him on the back foot from the first moment.

He had a hill to climb in this interview. And unfortunately as the interview went on, he never got anywhere near the top.

Andrew’s Interview Lessons

Here are the interview lessons that you can learn from Andrew, his CV/Resume and his interview.

1.  Late – avoid being late at all costs. It does happen sometimes. But be prepared. Get hold of the interviewer’s telephone number so that you can contact them direct.

Don’t follow Andrew’s approach. Leave a message with the recruitment agency, who then sent an email to my colleague who only then forwarded it onto me. Andrew added two extra people into the loop. Completely unnecessary.

If you are going to be late, take responsibility and contact the interviewer direct.

2.  Current role – I asked Andrew why he wanted to leave his current role. He told me, ‘I want to steer away from this particular area. It doesn’t really interest me.’ Sounds ok, except that the role he was applying for included this. Not good.

3.  Describing yourself – interviewer’s are likely to ask you to describe yourself in one word or two or three words. Or for them to ask how a previous employer would describe you.

You need to have two or three words prepared in advance. Ensure that the words you use portray you in a positive light.

Andrew described himself as a “Maverick”. That did not go down well with me. I wasn’t looking for a “Maverick”. I asked him why he called himself a “Maverick” as it portrayed him in a negative way. When asked why, he wasn’t able to say why he described himself that way.

4.  Adjectives – it’s common for us all to use colourful adjectives on our CV/Resume. Just be careful how you use them.

Andrew listed two of his strengths as creating ‘creative and exciting presentations and market campaigns’. I delved deeper and his justification was poor and did not match the words creative and exciting.

5.  Weakness not strength – this is linked to the last point. Andrew wasn’t able to show that this was a strength. Instead it came across as a weakness.

Be careful that what you think is a strength doesn’t come across as a weakness in the interview.

6.  Asking questions – when asking a question, only ask one. Don’t ask two or three questions in one.

7.  Language – be clear in the language you use. Avoid words like ‘stuff’ which Andrew used. He said, ‘I’ve had a look at your website and all that stuff.’ Sounds unprofessional and lazy.

8.  Research – if you don’t know where the role fits into the wider organization, you’ve not done enough research.

Andrew had no idea. He was ‘winging it’. If you need to find out more:

  • Ask the recruitment agency,
  • Google the interviewers, and/or
  • Ask the company direct where else you can find more information.

Andrew never made it through to the next stage. He admitted that he’d let himself down.

When you get a chance, don’t let yourself down. Make the best of the opportunity.


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