It’s an integration issue, silly
23rd March 2009
Starting a Social Media Team
8th April 2009
Show all

It’s not just candidates who interview badly…

There's a temptation to think that how an interview goes is always down to the candidate, but I received a request today for funny interview stories that reminded me of one interview that went badly in a VERY unexpected way.

There's a temptation to think that how an interview goes is always down to the candidate, but I received a request today for funny interview stories that reminded me of one interview that went badly in a VERY unexpected way.

Back when I left what was then Coopers & Lybrand (and subsequently became PwC) I was invited for interview by a small accounting firm in a nearby town. On paper the firm sounded perfect – they specialised in high net worth individuals as clients, which suggested a life of expense account lunches, and jetting off to Monaco to look through their affairs. Looking back now with my personal branding hat on, I can also see that it was a very carefully niched proposition, and the partners were themselves part of their own target market, so selling from the inside, but that's another story…

So, the interview was scheduled for 8.30 am. I duly set off on the 35 mile drive at 7.30, arriving slightly early, and was invited to wait in the anteroom by the receptionist, as the partner who would be interviewing me was 'en route'.

Several cups of coffee later I was starting to wonder what was going on, but was assured he was on his way. This was repeated a couple of times more, and I was starting to wonder how much I wanted this job. Eventually, some time after 10am, the partner arrived and i was ushered in.

He explained that he had been out late the night before and he was sure I understood (one look gave me all the understanding I needed. First impressions count, and turning up an hour and a half late with a hangover is as unforgivable in an interviewer as in the interviewee). He then proceeded to tell me that there was no actual vacancy, but rather I'd been invited in to see if my face 'fitted'. With a polite smile I extended my hand and, apologising for wasting his time (even though it was very much the other way round), I suggested that I was unlikely to fit in, and left. the interview had lasted about 3 minutes from sitting in the chair to running out of the door.

It's easy to focus on what can go wrong for interviewees, but interviewers owe their candidates just as much respect. I also wonder whether he would have turned up in the same state for a meeting with a client or potential client. I suspect I know the answer…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE BOOK