Paper: How not to stuff up your job interview

How many of you have tried to set up a friend with someone, or been the one that’s been set up for a blind date? What’s the first thing you do? Do you try to find them on Facebook and see if you can link to an Instagram account?

It’s not creepy, it’s not like stalking. You are gathering information on the person you are going to meet. In fact, it’s prudent, it’s sensible.

One of the things that interviewers always find strange about candidates is that they know so little about the company they are saying they want to work for.

For example, the first paragraph of my LinkedIn profile says in very clear terms that we do not accept unsolicited job applications and we do not make recommendations or introductions. And yet I get a steady stream of messages from people who say “I would very much like to work with your esteemed company.”

They stand zero chance of acceptance, not only because they have wasted my time when they have been told, expressly, not to do so but because.. we are specialists in compliance and if someone can’t do as they are told then clearly compliance is not in their skillset.

There’s another thing: they don’t bother to read articles I have written on LinkedIn. I know that because one of those articles is specifically about addressing people you don’t know by their Christian or given name. As soon as someone I don’t know addresses me as “Nigel,” they are binned. Why? Is it because I’m snobbish? No. It’s because they are making a presumption of familiarity that does not exist and, statistically, those who do that are going to want something, even if it’s only to sell something to me. That means they are deciding to use my time for their advantage. Time is a finite, non-renewable resource. It is precious. It is the ultimate scarce commodity. When we had a company here, we advertised via a well-known jobs platform for staff with very specific range of skills. We had more than 900 applicants of which precisely zero met all the criteria. Only a handful met even one of the criteria: most met none at all.

If you walk into an interview and make those mistakes, you will fail.

This all points to one thing: research your target, make sure you fit within the criteria your target sets.