Tuesday, 24 March 2015

How not to interview

Let me tell you a little secret.
I have almost finished my book. The one I am writing, that is, not the ones I read for Kevin.
And I say 'almost' because it has been a labour of love for the past eighteen months and I still have...

*pauses to check*

... five more chapters to write.

Anyhow, the book.

It is not a novel.
It is not chick lit.
It is not a crime thriller.
It is definitely not science fiction.

It is a career guide for women. And men, should they be that way inclined.
Marginally sarcastic (would you expect anything else), ever-so-slightly cynical, but definitely informative and overall humorous.

Because if you cannot laugh, well, then, there is no point.

So, today, I went to see a man about a job.
Not because I am looking for a permanent position (I am not) or because he had something I was clamouring after (he most definitely didn't), but because - via a headhunter - I was 'sought out', as they say, for my background and skills as "someone they would definitely like to talk to."

Well, I'm always up for having a chat and if nothing else believe you can learn from all such events.

So I trotted back up to the City to meet this fellow at the agreed time.

And a mere forty minutes later placed a call to the headhunter to give him a stern talking to.

"A total waste of my time," was how I put it to him, although I used a few more expletives.
And I explained why - because there is no point complaining unless you can offer constructive feedback:

  • the interviewer was late (this despite being "very keen to see you as soon as possible")
  • he had not read my CV and was quite obviously bringing it up on his phone and scrolling through it whilst firing random questions at me (more below)
  • his introduction was "I am [insert name] and I am head of [insert suitably generic title] and I was in the US for 10 years and now I am in the UK" - yes, that's it
  • there was no outline of the role he supposedly was seeking to fill, no insight as to the company's vision or plans, no details around how they are structured and operate - so just as well I had done my own homework and had a grasp of facts
  • his most pressing question was, "What was your largest sale?" (this for a business development role)
  • his other question was, "What is your experience in capital markets?" (err, hello? I was a trader for over ten years in the banking treasury division and have been in financial services more or less ever since? It's on my CV... oh wait, you forgot to read that, didn't you...)
  • but most of all - and yes, I am being totally non-PC here, but who gives a shit - he was almost incomprehensible with one of the most difficult accents to understand ever, not helped by speaking through clenched teeth
It was a classic lesson in how not to interview - from the employer's perspective.

Man, I could have given him a lesson there and then on good practice, engagement, courtesy and talking clearly.

Would have certainly made it worth my while. 
In the meantime, it has added another chapter to my book:

'What to do when your interviewer is a twat'.





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