Corporate recruiter turned job seeker champion (not to mention world-class speaker) Aimee Bateman has some great interview tips. Her advice on how to answer two really tricky interview questions, “Tell me about your biggest achievement?” and “What is Your Biggest Weakness? have been two of our most visited posts recently, so it’s obvious that many of our readers find her advice helpful!
Check out her 1 Mile Rule to make sure you keep the good juju rolling long after you’ve shaken your interviewer’s hand!
I’ve spent hours every day of my 10 year recruitment career interviewing people. Sometimes I am interviewing for my clients and sometimes I am interviewing for me and my own team.
I take a huge amount of pride in providing the best possible environment for someone to shine and really show me what they are made of. I feel a huge responsibility to make sure I ‘bring it’ to the interview and by ‘it’ I mean the very best version of myself. After all, the interviewee probably had an early night and an extra Weetbix for breakfast so I should do my bit also.
Excellent – I’ve found a superstar!
I love meeting that amazing person, the one who has all the right answers. The person who, after only 5 minutes of talking, ticks all the required boxes. They are talented, positive, and inspirational and you want them on your team as soon as possible… actually you secretly want to be their best friend! I will give you one quick example of what NOT to do after making such a great impression.
The ‘polite’ walk back to reception
The interview has finished and I’m walking her back to reception so she can sign out and exit the building, but I am definitely going to call her this afternoon and offer her the role. I’m super relieved and excited!
I make polite chitchat to fill time as we walk and I ask her ‘so what have you got planned for the rest of the day?’ and she replies… ‘I have a really boring team strategy meeting’ as she rolls her eyes and pulls a painful looking face.
Excuse me? Did I mishear her? What just happened? I’m confused… actually I’m a little bit devastated!
Surely this can’t be the person that was just telling me what a positive team player she is. Was it all a lie? Or was she nervous? Or did she think because the interview had finished, she was free to be herself and she didn’t need to tell me what she thought I wanted to hear? I smiled politely and thanked her for her time, but I was left deflated and rightly or wrongly I didn’t offer her the job.
It happens more than you think!
This type of situation happens more than we realise because the employer will very rarely give you the real reason. A client of mine once told me that they interviewed a top guy, who had made a great impression until the receptionist confessed to seeing him spit out his chewing gum on their steps as he arrived. Or the interviewee who was driving out of the car park while chatting on his phone and nearly hit an employee returning from her lunch. The employer actually called this chap and expressed his strong disapproval of drivers who use their mobiles… it really hit a nerve!
I once met a director of an insurance firm while at a dinner party who told me they had a camera in their lift which showed a lady (who had just finished her interview) punching the air victoriously and they came to the conclusion that they didn’t like her cocky attitude or arrogance. Not sure I agree with that decision, but it does show that even the smallest things can influence an employer’s decision.
My ‘One Mile Rule’
I often refer to this as my one mile rule. It is often beneficial to practice this habit…
The interview starts one mile before you get to the location and ends one mile after you have left – simple!
We all say/do silly things that we regret (no one is perfect) but please don’t let something so easy to avoid be the thing that destroys all your hard work. Just remember you have to be out of “eyeshot” AND earshot of the building or their employees before the interview is really over.