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How to deal with off-putting interview behaviour…

Published: Friday 11th September 2015

Female being interviewed

Recruiters interview many people during their career and they get pretty good at spotting a bad candidate fast. Incredibly, a third of them know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone. Is there anything recruiters can do when they experience off-putting interview behaviour?

When You Meet A Candidate In Inappropriate Attire

The outfit a candidate decides to wear to meet a potential employer makes a statement about their work ethic and their cultural match to the company. Despite the fact that there is a wealth of information available online for candidates to help them pick a suitable interview outfit, some candidates are still showing up in jeans to interview for senior roles. Really, there is no excuse for anyone to wear flip-flops or sunglasses when meeting HR directors, even when they’re interviewing in the middle of a heatwave or if they have applied for a lifeguard role. Although it can be easy to ask the candidate to remove accessories prior to an interview, the matter of inappropriate dress- and footwear can be trickier to address. If you do decide to give the candidate a chance at interviewing, make a point of discussing the usual office attire and how they will be expected to stick to a dress code.

When A Candidate Leaves A Terrible First Impression

The handshake is an important part of any interview. A limp, long or double-handed shake can be hard to overcome, but there are worst things a candidate could do to affect your first impression of them, such as showing up late. Candidates should never be late to an interview and you are not wrong to expect they would give themselves plenty of time to get to you. There are a few ways candidates can alleviate the impact of a bad first impression. Have they called ahead to let you know they will be there five minutes later than planned? And do they apologise and explain the situation when they first meet you? How you decide to react to a bad start often depends on how the candidate reacts to it themselves.

When A Candidate Shows Bad Body Language

There is a lot that can be communicated through body language. When somebody is leaning back in their chair, they could be considered lazy or arrogant. But when they lean forward, they could be thought of as being too aggressive. Much of a candidate’s body language can be down to nerves. Do they not make any eye contact or are they staring? Are they sitting with their arms crossed? Are they nodding excessively? Sometimes, a few minutes of light conversation or the offer of a glass of water can be enough to settle some nerves.

When A Candidate Asks Inappropriate Questions

Candidates should be encouraged to ask questions during and at the end of an interview. If they have no questions regarding the company or the team structure, this probably means they haven’t done their research. If they only ask questions about the pay or benefits of the job, this could be a worry too. Of course, there are exceptions. A candidate might have already booked a family holiday and want to make you aware of this. But at other times, if candidates ask about paid leave or sick leave, it’s crucial to try and figure out a bit more about their ambition to work for your company.

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