Preparing for Interview

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Preparing for interview can be a tricky business.  Doing your homework is vital

Christine Khor, a Recruitment Director at Chorus Executive and author of Hire Love, told promising candidates are still making surprising mistakes and cheating themselves out of their perfect role.

Advising them on how to dress, when to arrive and who they’re interviewing with is a solid start, but how do you ensure they aren’t pipped at the post by a better prepared competitor?

She outlined nine errors candidates must avoid if they are to seal the deal at an interview.

1.Telling Lies

Khor advises that candidates are best to be upfront and honest with interviewers. “Be really honest,” she says. “Don’t lie on your CV, you’ll always get caught. If you have no degree, you were made redundant or you didn’t get along with your boss, just say so.”

2. Leaving Out The Context

Make sure your candidate is fully prepped to explain their work history. “Don’t just say you got made redundant. Say the global financial crisis happened, they closed a department, 78 people lost their jobs and unfortunately you were one of them,” Khor said.

3. Lack of CV Knowledge

Make sure your candidate knows their CV back to front. “People get the details wrong, the dates wrong, their financial achievements,” she said. 

4. Not Understanding the Role

Many candidates don’t know enough about the organisation or position. “There’s a difference between wanting to leave your job and why you want to work for someone,”  Khor said.

5. Raising Issues Early On

Tell your candidate to keep any negatives to themselves at the start. “I’m seeing this more and more, especially with women,” Khor said. “Single mums and dads both need flexibility for pick-up and drop-offs, but women will say it very quickly at the beginning.

“You need to be honest if you need flexibility, but you don’t need to say it straight away. Biased or not, it puts in the employer’s mind that it’s not going to work.”

6. Underselling

People typically go for jobs where they fulfil 80% of the criteria, but many candidates will focus on the 20% they can’t do. Khor said this is often an issue with female candidates. “Women are putting up barriers for themselves,” she said.

7. Overselling

“There’s a fine line between underselling and overselling yourself,” Khor said.  “Interviewers want to know how passionate you are and [about] your achievements but they also want to know your faults. None of us are perfect.”

8. Making Bad Jokes

Khor told of an interview in which a candidate said he would drive business by using “dirt” he had on people.  She said it was clearly a joke, but the seed of doubt was planted.

9. Asking About Moving On

The opportunity to ask questions at the end of an interview can be a minefield, with Khor suggesting candidates steer away from questions about progression. “People want to know you want the job,” she said. “Talk about wanting the job, not just wanting to be at the organisation.”