500 metre exclusion zone will keep you tuned in

By Mark McDonald, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers (Dublin North)

Make sure you give everyone the right impression of you before, during and after interview.

Mark McDonald
Mark McDonald, Career Coach Tel: +353 86 3812 555

Securing the dream job is a tough competitive process from start to finish. Don’t arrive at a situation where your application, CV and cover letter, and your interview performance has placed you as a distinct possibility for hire, only then to blow your chances by letting yourself down elsewhere.

The great performance during the 40 minutes in front of the interview panel can easily be undone by other factors. In order to avoid this, I have coined the phrase ‘the 500 metre rule’.

The safest way to avoid an unfortunate incident which may impact on your success is to tell yourself that you are on show once you get within 500 metres of the building prior to interview and 500 metres away from the building afterwards. This can help make sure that you are creating the right impression at all times. So maybe think about trying to avoid some of the lesser known pitfalls.

If you are arriving by car, don’t park anywhere you shouldn’t i.e. double yellows, disabled spaces, maternity spaces, staff space and so on. If by chance you smoke, work off the assumption that your interviewers don’t and, like many non-smokers, find the smell quite disgusting. So the last puff should happen well outside the 500 metre exclusion zone and ideally not within 30 minutes of your interview.

Once inside the building, present well to whomever you meet. This is not the time to take or make phone calls – best practice is to turn off the phone. Make sure to thank the person who first meets you and directs you on to the next step. If you need to use the bathroom, all the rules apply – you know the ones I mean.

After you have completed your interview and performed to your maximum, remember that you are still on show. Thank the receptionist as you leave, and don’t drive out the gates like it’s the start of a Grand Prix.

Would it be harsh to lose out on something that wasn’t even part of the formal interview? Maybe so, but look at it from the employer’s point of view. They don’t know you yet and are thinking of investing time and money in you as an employee. Would they value the opinions of some of their trusted colleagues who had inter-acted with the interview candidates? I think many would.

So play it safe. Observe the 500 metre exclusion zone. Once inside, you’re on show. It doesn’t start and end with the interview itself. In professional soccer, the referee’s jurisdiction starts when he arrives at the stadium to ends only when he leaves. It’s not just the 90 minutes of the game that matte.

So avoid getting a red card and don’t let one of the subs end up getting that job ahead of you over a simple, avoidable faux-pas.


Mark McDonald is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers and works out of Dublin North. You can read more about him, and make a booking HERE for CV Preparation and Interview Training.

More articles from his blog can be accessed HERE