Coco the Clown and the Man Who Wanted Windows
This is a true story. I once saw an ex-boss lock herself into a cupboard rather than confronting the bobble hat wearing would-be editor who turned up for a job interview at our creative comms agency.
As the candidate – looking more like Coco the Clown in her equally shocking, bright stripy tights, mismatched skirt and tie-dye top – cycled across our courtyard, there was nothing else for it.
It had been a long, tiring day of interviews and my MD was laughing so hard that tears were coursing down her face and she simply couldn’t face this candidate and take her at all seriously for a client-facing job.
So into the cupboard she hopped.
An extreme reaction perhaps but often people find it hard to imagine how important first impressions are to a potential employer.
It’s the same with the bit at the end of every interview when your ‘maybe’ next boss asks you if you have any questions?
Asking about holiday entitlement or salary as the only question or, even worse, not saying anything at all are a definite no-no. Particularly if you are going for a communications role.
Equally unimpressive are questions of no relevance whatsoever.
A candidate once asked me whether our company had windows. It was the only question, it was the early 90s, so I assumed he meant the Microsoft Operating System.
But no, dear readers, he was talking about the glass variety you can see out of.
Apparently his current office had no natural daylight.
However, as I was potentially employing him as a comms consultant I felt there were way too many other more strategic and insightful questions he could have put to me – old fashioned future employer that I was.
And, as I showed him the door, I really couldn’t imagine him working with any of our clients, asking them the right questions or giving them the best solutions.
So my top tip if you can absolutely not think of anything worthwhile to say is to just say this: “What are the key objectives you would expect me to achieve in the first three to six months?”
True it can flummox them but switched on folk should be able to respond.
Just don’t say it wearing fancy dress!
By the way, at VMA Group we will help you with your interview technique and brief you thoroughly on every role so do please get in touch about your career next steps at firstname.lastname@example.org
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