It takes years to build a credible brand, which can be lost in a moment, as Gerald Ratner found out when he described a decanter set sold in his stores as “total crap”.
You’d think that all the hard work that goes into creating an excellent reputation would be viciously protected, which is why I was shocked to hear what happened to a client of mine who recently applied for a senior role with an exciting small design company.
An interviewee who cares about his personal reputation
The job seemed a perfect match with his own experience, knowledge and skills.
He spent several hours after work one evening, writing an extremely detailed application and cover letter, followed by most of a Sunday creating and editing a video to showcase the value he thought he could bring to the role.
Next, he invested in interview skills coaching, spending time preparing answers to typical questions that he expected to be asked:
He accepted an invitation to a Skype interview at 5.30am (due to business owner being in New Zealand) and arranged to have a practice interview the day beforehand.
The night before, he tidied up his office so that the background looked neat.
He got up at 5am, dressed up in his ironed shirt and suit, had a strong cup of coffee and sat down at his desk at 5.25am excited to begin an interview he felt he was totally prepared for.
An interviewer who doesn’t care about his business reputation
The business owner hadn’t put the same commitment into his preparation.
Inside the first 60 seconds he asked my client ‘what questions should I be asking?’
My client found that he was having a ‘chat’ at 5.30am.
The most challenging thing about the experience was trying to keep the yawning and desperate need for another coffee under control.
This informal, unstructured interview left him feeling totally let down, disheartened and questioning whether in fact, he’d even want to work with this person if offered the job.
He hadn’t been given the opportunity to shine and talk about all the relevant experience and skills he has to offer. He was left wondering how this business owner could possibly make a decision on whether to invite him to second interview based on what he’d gleaned about him (that he liked rugby and they had a friend in common).
They seemed to get on fairly well, but this guy had no evidence at all on which to base his recruitment decision.
He was told that he’d hear back within a week.
The email in fact took 4 weeks to arrive. In the nicest possible way it said, “Sorry, you haven’t been selected to go through to the next stage”.
My client worked out that he had spent 10 hours applying and preparing for this interview.
This small business owner had seemingly spent 0 hours preparing for the same interview.
Interviews are a chance to further strengthen a business reputation
Although the following statistics relate to customer service, they still apply to the terrible impression gained from this interview:
The key messages I would love to tell this business owner are:
Some Recruitment Skills Training would not have gone amiss. At the very least I would say:
If you’d like to learn how to conduct interviews that allow people to shine, email Ali Waters or call 07971511731.
We’d love to help you enhance your employer credibility.