Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Monday, August 10, 2009

Easy Ways to not ruin that Interview...


Easy Ways to not ruin that Interview...


In my career as a search consultant I have seen many deserving candidates miss out on top jobs because of screw ups in the interview room... sometimes even before the interview has started! Here are some common (!!) blunders top team aspirants should avoid like the plague....


Polka Dot shirts and ties with elephant motifs: One can never overestimate the importance of looking well groomed for an interview. To get the job , one first needs to look the part. I once had a candidate who was placed top of the pile for a project head role and seemed to be the perfect choice; on paper. When he turned up for the interview in worn sandals and a crushed shirt; the meeting lasted all of seven minutes. Another time a CEO role aspirant turned up in a pair of jeans for a board level meeting. The fact that the candidate was the boss of a jeans company failed to impress the board members.


It is critical to be pre-informed on the dress code and culture of the company one is interviewing for. While walking into the room with a pink shirt and jackie O glasses may be applauded at MTV; Bankers would settle for nothing less than a crisp pinstriped suit.


Backslapping the interviewer: "Familiarity breeds contempt" takes on a whole new meaning here... and this is particularly true of peer level interviews. It is of course always reccomended to create a good rapport with the interviewer, however, too casual a demeanour may not be taken to kindly, especially in a company with a formal working culture. It helps to keep in mind that the person across the table is judging every move.


Lousy Handshake: I know this has been done to death but I still fail to understand why people aspiring to be CEO's do not develop a strong handshake... we all know that the handshke is the most initimate (!) impression one will get to leave, that it is taken as a first indication on many things like energy, assertion, ambition, etc..... yet, I meet a finace head of a company who shakes my hand like its diseased (which it is not!) ... and inspite of all his qualification... 'm just not convinced he'll be able to turnaound my client's business...
And I must mention... I'm yet to meet a CEO with a bad handshake ... :)


Yadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayada: One thing no one can stand is a guy who loves to tlk about himself... and what wonderful things he has done with his life. The interviewer is keen to know about your professional evolution ... in brief... and it helps to be able to highlight in detail only the parts relevant to the role. A lot of candidates loose out because interviewers loose interest halfway through the meeting and haven't been able to capture the most critical parts of your experience. Many times the only feedback we've got from clients is.. "bahut bolta hai".. (he just talks a lot!). Sometimes we have to coach particularly talkative candidates on the importace of brevity... So the next time your consultant tells you..
"the client gives particular importance to the art of listening", you know what he/she means.. :)