Jobs: ‘Culture of fear’ around the dreaded interview

The interview panel must be prepared, too
The interview panel must be prepared, too
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A lack of preparation by both candidates and interviewers is creating a culture of fear and stress around job interviews according to a poll from Monster.co.uk.

The poll of 3,400 job seekers found one in seven (15 per cent) candidates have been reduced to tears by a job interview.

Particular stress is caused by lack of effort from prospective employers, with arrogance (62 per cent), poor preparation (42 per cent) and irrelevant questions (43 per cent) being identified as the most off putting interviewer habits.

Interviewers were surprisingly candid about their lack of preparation with almost a third (30 per cent) saying that they have forgotten a candidate’s name, over a quarter (28 per cent) confessing they have gone to interviews unprepared and almost one in five (19 per cent) even admitting that they have forgotten an interview entirely.

The research also shows first impressions really do count, with 54 per cent of employer respondents admitting that they have taken an instant dislike to a candidate. Many candidates also claimed they had been asked questions about their marital status, plans for children and even their religious beliefs in interviews.

However, employers are not the only party guilty of not putting in the groundwork – a quarter (26 per cent) of the candidates surveyed think that researching the person interviewing them was the least important homework and 25 per cent admitted arriving late to a job interview.

Although this figure is somewhat at odds with the employer perspective – 81 per cent claim to have experienced a candidate arriving late for an interview. The poll further reveals nearly half (45 per cent) of candidate respondents don’t think that looking for interview advice online is an important preparation task.

Isabelle Ratinaud, spokesman for Monster UK & Ireland, said: “It is apparent that both candidates and interviewers are not putting in the necessary groundwork to ensure a smooth, productive interview process. It’s no wonder that candidates are so stressed out if nearly a third of employers can’t even be bothered to remember a candidate’s name before an interview.

“Unless an interviewer takes the time to absorb the candidate’s CV, they will find it hard to establish whether they are right for the role; preparation means no wasted time both during and after the interview. Though the research shows that many interviewers go by first impressions - preparation helps to avoid forming instant opinions. A candidate may simply be having an off day or not giving an accurate account of themselves due to nerves but gaining a previous understanding of the candidate will balance that initial impression.”

Top ten strangest interview questions and answers:

1. When asked what animal you would be, the candidate responded ‘a squirrel’

2. When asked why do you want to work for us, the candidate responded ‘I don’t think I want to work for you anymore’

3. When asked what your main weakness is, the candidate responded ‘I am allergic to peanuts’

4. When asked what your hobbies and interests are, the candidate responded ‘pubs, Marlboro Lights and red wine’

5. When asked to describe yourself in three words, the candidate responded ‘tall, dark and handsome’

6. When asked what brings you here, the candidate responded ‘I’m just here so I can claim my benefits’

7. When asked what further questions you had, the candidate responded ‘can you book me a taxi’

8. When asked why do you want to leave your present job, the candidate responded ‘My employer has been messing my mum about and I tried to run him over with a mobile crane as I wanted to kill him’

9. When asked where do you see yourself in three years the candidate responded ‘In Bob’s chair’ - The operations manager who was on the panel interviewing him.

10. When asked why did you leave your previous role, the candidate responded ‘I nicked £5000 and they caught me’