Job hunting tip #1

Insultant Rowan Manahan has a meme on his excellent blog.

He has asked people to write a post offering a job hunting tip. He calls it the Definitive Guide to Clearing Job-Hunt Hurdles. As I have some experience running recruitment programmes for large IT companies, I thought I would post a tip here. I’d like to post more than one, but Rowan has asked only for one, so here it is:


I was once involved in interviewing a fellow who had a first-class honours degree in mathematics from Cambridge. He was due to have a technical interview with me and one of my colleagues and if he got through that, he would have a break and then a second interview with a project manager. He failed the technical interview for various reasons, not least because he didn’t make eye contact with us for even a second.

During the break, I approached the project manager and expressed my concerns. We decided that there was no point in carrying on with the second interview. The manager and I went to the interview room and explained to the candidate that he had not been successful. Again he refused to make eye contact. Not only that, he stayed completely silent. It was clear he was shocked, but not just that, he was sulking! After explaining the situation to him, we asked if he had any final questions for us. He didn’t reply!

After a moment’s silence, I said I would escort the candidate down to reception and sign him out. We got into the lift (that’s elevator, if you’re from North America) and the whole way down to the ground floor he stayed silent. I signed him out, thanked him for coming and offered him my hand. He ignored me and walked out.

So here’s the thing…

Even though you get rejected, it might be a close run thing between you and the successful candidate and it’s not unusual for successful candidates to turn down a job offer. Alternatively, your skills might be considered more suited to another role, so you might suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of an unexpected turn-around.

As long as you were gracious and polite when they rejected you in the first place.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

2 comments to Job hunting tip #1

  • wychwood

    Wonderful links, all of them. Rowan M’s idea is terrific!
    The Scott Adams link on finding success by finding two things you’re good at – yes, I read beyond the joke you pointed us to!- has generated some inspiring comments.
    Hope you post more job-hunting tips, that’s a great one. It did strike me that the candidate you interviewed might be shy and therefore kept his eyes down, but the not taking your hand to shake it was pretty rude.

  • When does shyness end and rudeness begin?

    It wasn’t a simple case of shyness. Not making eye-contact once strikes me as almost sociopathic.

    Despite his inability to make eye-contact, he was quite cocky at the beginning of the interview, clearly very proud of his university qualification (which wasn’t in itself relevant to the job he was applying for). He was less cocky when I asked him to define one of the key skills he was being interviewed for and he couldn’t.

    Cockiness, melting into uncertainty, dissolving into sullenness, evaporating into plain rudeness.

    His was a perfect example of how to do everything wrong in terms of creating a good impression.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>