The sweet smell of interview success

Candidates are apparently so blase about job interviews these days that some don't even bother showering first...

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Although we’re constantly hearing about the UK economy going to hell in a handcart, nobody seems to have told jobseekers, says the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. According to the recruiters’ trade body, candidates are so firmly in the driving seat at the moment that they’re not even bothering to prepare properly for interviews. Most offensively of all, some aren’t even bothering to wash – 47% of recruiters said they’d had complaints about their candidates’ personal hygiene. So it’s not surprising employers are kicking up a stink.

And the deplorable complacency doesn’t end there. Almost every recruiter surveyed said they’d had complaints about their candidates’ appearance, usually because they were inappropriately dressed. Some showed up in casual clothes, others were displaying far too much flesh, and bizarrely one girl even turned up in a ball-gown. We’ve heard it said that it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, but that’s ridiculous.

‘The findings indicate that some job hunters are in desperate need of a makeover,’ says REC director Tom Hadley. ‘Candidates often feel nervous before and during interviews, which can explain odd clothing choices and erratic behaviour but by taking the time to prepare, job hunters are much more likely to be comfortable and confident during interviews’. Fair enough – though we’re not quite sure how exactly this fits with the overriding ‘jobseekers are getting complacent’ theme…

Indeed, the REC’s release (thoughtfully entitled ‘Smelly job-hunters need a makeover’) soon gets bored of this idea and moves onto that ever-reliable comic staple: interview clangers (it tries to claim these are also a sign of complacency, but it sounds more like basic stupidity to us). For instance: the candidate who nominated ‘dishonesty’ as his biggest weakness; another who put ‘Sony Playstation ‘down under IT skills, and a girl who was too vain to wear her glasses and walked into a cupboard on the way out.

But what can we deduce from all this? Well, some candidates may be complacent, others may be nervous, and some or all of these might smell. So perhaps the best solution is just to open the windows, stock up on air freshener, and console yourself with the thought that if someone’s really bad it’ll make a funny story next time you take your team for a drink...

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