On balance, saying ‘no’ was a good ruse

Q: The job was for a team leader. The interview was going grand until one fellow – the quiet one – piped up with ‘how much money have you in your bank account?’ I prevaricated and I procrastinated and I equivocated, and then I sighed and I smiled, and basically, in a nice, mannerly way, I told him it was none of his business.

He guffawed, they guffawed and I didn’t want to feel left out so I guffawed too. Three days later they told me I had the job.

Three weeks later they told me that the question was deliberately inserted to test how people ould react. Some threw the toys out of the pram. Others told the truth. I had steered a middle course – ‘none of your business’ with a smile – and they reckoned this showed I could deliver bad news without getting tripped up. I’ve no question but felt people might to know this story. (QM, email ):

A: I’m not a huge fan of interview panel gimmicks, but each to their own. I hope your bank balance continues to increase in the new role.

If you want them to know, tell them

Going for interview, brush up on your technical knowledge.

The electrician who has five examples of his teamwork, but stumbles over the actual safety precautions he takes servicing a power unit, may not leave a lasting impression – stroke that, he may leave an all too lasting an impression.

Maybe the electrician knows full well what he’d do, but just fails to articulate it. Or maybe he takes shortcuts in his work. But if he doesn’t clarify it, they may form the wrong opinion (i.e. he’s a shortcut taker ).

If you want them to know you are totally on top of your job, tell them: don’t rely on clairvoyance.

Specialists often take their subject expertise for granted. They can adopt a ‘sure they know I know than’ approach in interviews. But how do they know if you don’t tell them?

‘Sure it is in my CV, can’t they see it there?’, you may counter.

But that presumes the entire panel has read your CV in the first place. They might not have. Or they may just have read it for the first time seconds before you came in the door. Or they may be reading it for the first time as you are answering your questions.

The interview is a standalone affair. If it’s important, if it showcases your ability, if it allays their fears, if it meets their needs – tell them.

It is galling to see a good candidate fail to get the job because their terse answers failed to convince the interview panel. Yes, an interview is an un-natural environment, but it still remains the most popular method of selecting candidates, so you best be ready to give a good account of yourself.

CV Survey

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Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) have offices in Galway (Patricia Maloney, 091 528883 ), Mayo (Ballinrobe, Claremorris ), Dublin, Limerick, Donegal and Athlone. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/galway


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