In an interview, anything can happen. Like the path of true love, it can take wholly unexpected turns. A well-prepared candidate reacts accordingly. Here John Moloney, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers, elaborates on three common post-interview reactions from candidates.
- “The interview was very short – it felt like they were just going through the motions, ticking a box. I’d say the job is gone and they were only wasting my time”.
As it happens, I’ve heard this reaction quite a bit of late – by ‘quite a bit’, I mean three or four candidates since Christmas.
This kind of interview involves the panel asking questions but not really generating a conversation. Going through the motions, ticking a box, is exactly how it feels for the candidate. The candidate can offer evidence, but the judges just aren’t listening. Minds are closed.
The subsequent ‘Dear John’ letter leaves John empty. “What was that all about?” it is an annoying and belittling experience that often leaves candidates angry.
In one case, a candidate who felt she should be strongly in the running for the job was frustrated by this type of interview.
“It’s definitely gone,” she said, “there’s no way that interview helped them make up their mind. My only hope is that the job is gone to me.”
Turns out she was the chosen one. The cookie crumbled the right way for her on this occasion but, on the whole, this approach by employers proves very frustrating for candidates. Give them a fair crack of the whip.
- “I couldn’t get into my stride. They clipped my wings every time I tried to expand on my answers to score a few more points. I thought they were bad-mannered.”
Some interview panels know exactly what they want. They want the facts in the match report, not the colour and the atmosphere.
In this situation, you’ve got to read the tea leaves. Executive summary, not full thesis. Motorway, not scenic route. Get to the point quickly and answer the exact questions they ask.
And console yourself that this is the way they are – and so they will be the same for everyone else. It’s like for like. Others will feel their wings are being clipped too.
A candidate can still do well in this interview: they just need to amend (i.e. be short, succinct and relevant) their answering style to suit the scenario.
- “They really put me through the hoops. I did two interviews, a psychometric test and prepared and delivered a 15-minute presentation. And the original application form was a beast of a thing. The job pays €32,000 – not €320,000”.
I hear you. Employers, be fair about it. Tailor your application process accordingly. Yes, a job worth getting is worth preparing for, but the reaction above indicates that some employers just go too far.
Application forms, first off: it seems to be an unwritten rule of application form creation that the person who designs it never, ever, fills it themselves. If they did, they would surely see all the overlapping text boxes, the ‘areas outside print margin’ errors, the repetitive questions, and the disappearing lines.
I think a second interview is no harm; a presentation is probably a good idea; I know very well the value of psychometric testing – but the whole lot together, on foot of the original application form, is a whopper of a recruitment process for a job at that pay scale. Did it need to be so elaborate?