Interview #fail

Not so long ago I attended a second interview. I was there to meet the owner of a small group of recruitment companies. When I arrived I was told that he was running late.

No problem.

He arrived about 5 minutes late, shook my hand, sat down and said…

‘Sorry I’m a bit late, I’ve just had to go to one of the other offices and make a couple of redundancies. Bit if a shame, they’ve worked with me for a few years, but I’ve got to look at the bottom line and I can outsource what they do. Found someone who can do it from home so it’ll be cheaper. Was a bit messy though, a few tears, they weren’t expecting it, in fact when I’ve finished with you I’ll have to go back and sort it out.’

This is an opening statement before any rapport has been established and whilst he’s talking, I’m thinking why is he telling me this?what is he expecting me to say?

During the recruitment process we spend ages on interviews. Setting them up, preparing for them, worrying about them, doing them and chasing feedback on them. Both the interviewer and interviewee invest quite a bit of time and effort in this.

Invariably most of this time is spent on questions. What to ask, how to answer. 

But what about the small talk? The spontaneous things we say, sometimes without thinking. How many interviews go wrong, not because of the questions and answers, but the chat in between? The stuff that isn’t prepared.

The guy I met that morning didn’t need to tell me what he did. On the one hand you can admire his honesty, but then again why start with it? And why start with a statement that shows you are autocratic, unprepared, maverick and cost cutting?

How many interviews #fail not from the questions and answers but from the small talk and from honesty that becomes confessional.