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Interview Horror Stories: Our Recruiters Reveal What Not To Say (And What You Should)

Advice | Jacob Sanders | 25/10/18

interview horror stories

A man was travelling on the London Underground to his job interview one morning when another commuter blocked his way. The man reacted with a push and shove and a little explicit outburst. Upon arriving at his interview, the interviewer – a little shocked – hinted that they had previously met, before it finally clicked to the man that it had been the interviewer he had sworn at on the tube that same morning.

Understandably travelling to job interviews having to conquer the rush hour tube isn’t always the most stress-free activity. However when interviewing it always pays to be prepared before, during, and after the interview, even when you’re not on the premises, to ensure that you don’t scupper your chances.

As such we’ve asked a couple of our recruiters here at Eligo for their horror stories surrounding interviews and some tips on how to prepare successfully.

Anger Management

“I once had a candidate who walked into his interview and stated that he had anger management issues. The employer asked a further question pertaining to the revelation when the candidate just ‘explodes’ periodically!”

Top tip: As with the man on the tube – it’s always best to keep your emotions in check. The last thing that will get you hired is this behaviour. This applies before and after the interview, especially in the case of road rage. You never know who will be interviewing you.

Body Language

“I have had candidates who during the interview will recline almost horizontally in the chair, won’t make any eye contact at all, or get up close with the interview to the point where they are invading their own personal space”

Top tip: Body language says a lot about you as a candidate. Ensure you make a connection with your interviewer by making eye contact when in conversation, respecting personal space, and of course, not slouching!

Presentation and Appearance

“One candidate arrived with food all down their clothes during a trial day in a customer facing role. It appeared to get worse after lunch time, when they arrived back with even more food splattered down their front.”

Top tip: In the same way that body language can say a lot about you, so can your presentation and appearance. Of course, accidents happen and it’s a nightmare that faces all of us – especially when wearing a new crisp white shirt – however, it’s important to make a good first impression and make efforts to rectify or explain the situation. Think fresh breath, clean clothes, etc.

Familiarity 

“Candidate turned up for interview on time, well prepped, and sat down. The interviewer asked the candidate if he would like a drink and the candidate turned around and asked for a Vodka as a joke. The client laughed and so did the candidate and then asked him again would he like a drink and he again asked for a vodka… the client brought him a water.

They started interviewing him and he showed that he had the skills required for the job however whenever he gave his answers or spoke about previous clients and his current employer he continuously swore about every one of them. Little did he realise that one of the people he was swearing about was going to be his direct manager if he was to get the job!”

Top tip: With nerves can often come over-familiarity, but it’s key to be mindful of the environment and situation you are in and ask yourself whether what you’re saying is appropriate and gives the right impression of who are. Additionally, similar to our anger management story, you never know who you will be working with or for. Never talk negatively of previous employers or clients during interviews; in many industries, it is well known for those within them to connect, work together, or speak regularly, and you could be burning bridges for the future (or in this case, losing a job offer).

Preparation

“As you would expect, there have been some candidates who have turned up to the interview and have either asked the interviewer what the company does, or say they don’t know when asked – this is despite a thorough preparation email advising to do so.”

Top tip:  Preparation is key to any interview! Check and confirm all details before, and ensure that you have done your research.

Location

“A candidate of mine had a telephone interview arranged with a client who is a national company. The hiring manager called the candidate at the agreed and scheduled time – “Hi, this is x from x, are you free to take this call? It should take about 15 minutes.” – to which the candidate replied with “yes, I’m fine to talk… although I’m just on the toilet*”

*toilet wasn’t necessarily the word used

Similarly

“Always read the confirmation email for your interview. One of my candidates didn’t read this and ended up taking his telephone interview in the reception of the company he was interviewing at as the client wasn’t even in the country!”

And

Another candidate taking a phone interview who when asked what sort of pay he would be looking for replied “sorry I can’t discuss salary… I’m on a bus”

Top Tip: This one follows on from preparation, always ensure that you know where (or how) the interviewing will be taking place, and confirm prior. If you happen to be in a situation where you aren’t available to speak, politely suggest that you call back shortly. Whatever you do, don’t give away too much personal information as evidenced by the first candidate.

 

It will seem like common sense to many, but as recruiters we see these kind of comedy of errors happening every day! Follow some of our tips, and if in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask us – we are here to help!

For more advice of interviewing take a look  and click on the below articles;

top tips for successful phone interviewhow to STAR Interviewtop 5 tips for finding a new job

 

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