The inside track: Interview turn-offs

15-04-2004

A survey conducted among 4,400 jobseekers by online recruiter reed.co.uk found that 68% of them admitted that they were likely to be influenced by general impressions at interview rather than practical considerations. Nearly a third said that in the past they had taken a lower salary to move jobs just because they liked the interviewer.

While just what constitutes a seductive interviewer remained elusive, the survey group found it easy to identify the turn-offs. Poor punctuality and scruffiness were obvious concerns. Candidates disliked being kept waiting - in one case, for three hours - especially in corridors and even kitchens.

Once those crucial 30 seconds have passed, employers can still blow it. Personal remarks in general - never mind derogatory ones - are not welcomed by candidates and sexual innuendo should be avoided at all times.

Employers should also make sure they know who they are talking to, and if they do get it wrong, apologise, rather than continue to question the candidate from some one else's CV. It is also felt to be disrespectful to doodle on a candidate's CV in his or her presence, or even to produce a CV that has been doodled on. Nor should employers eat during the interview or take personal calls - or any calls, if possible. Smoking continues to become increasingly unpopular.

And a poor interview can cost an employer more than wasted time. Last summer another online recruiter, total jobs.com, discovered that two thirds of disgruntled interviewees are likely to become unhappy customers too and boycott the employer's goods or services. This is not the drop in the bucket it sounds. A satellite television service calculates that the cost of one cancelled subscription adds up to a pounds 30,000 loss of revenue over that customer's lifetime.

BILL SAUNDERS
The Guardian

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