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I took time out of my union activities yesterday to try and recruit myself a new PA. As previously noted, I hate recruitment. Having an attention span of somewhere south of 30 seconds and being remarkably judgmental means that normally before the person even sits down I have put them in the yes or no camp.

That said, yesterday I was recruiting with other members of my team and therefore felt I needed to be a little more professional than the norm….say, maybe waiting a minute before making a judgment. But hey, why bother when the pool of applicants is so ridiculously poor that like lemmings that do the honourable thing and commit career hari-kiri in front of your eyes…..

So in tribute to the little darlings, here are my top tips on things not likely to get you a job.

1) If the dates are wrong on your CV, then change them. Do NOT walk into the interview and when questioned say, “yeah that’s wrong”.
2) “I didn’t realise the building was so close to the road” is not meaningful small talk. This is London. Show me a building that isn’t close to the road not lived in by royalty.
3) If the role is for a PA, you kind of guess that spelling and grammar might be important. You did not use to order the “stationary”…trust me….you didn’t.
4) You will be asked the question, “why do you want this job?” It’s not a trick question. It’s not there to catch you out. It’s simple…..think it through beforehand. Lie. Do anything but sit there like Bambi in the crosshairs.
5) When completing an in tray exercise, try not to suggest prioritising the activity needing completion before midday, before the one needing completion before 9.30. If you do…..fess up. Don’t try and justify it…..really…..don’t……please…..

I could go on, but the depression is soaking through every pore in my body. Needless to say we didn’t offer. Anyone want a job?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    09/15/2009 07:52

    What is an "in-tray" exercise? Is that a practical hoop that prospectives are made to go through? Is mixing the perfect martini another exercise?

  2. class-factotum permalink
    09/15/2009 12:24

    Yes! Yes! I want a job! I especially want a job that involves running somebody's life. My husband won't let me run his, even though things would go so much better if I did.

    I would love a job. Not a career. But a simple leave it behind at 5:00, don't wake up at 2:00 a.m. in a cold sweat worrying about what will happen if the SAP conversion does not go right and you don't think of everything and there are 70 factories, hundreds of jobs and thousands of customers involved and YOU could screw it all up.

  3. humanresourcespufnstuf permalink
    09/15/2009 14:29

    Sadly, small talk is difficult for too many folks. I suggest if you are struggling for something to say, simply remark on my stunning good looks or overwhelming intelligence.

    Best of luck in finding a good PA!

  4. Sayya26 permalink
    09/15/2009 15:35

    The 'Bambi in crosshairs' thing annoys me to no end….give an answer- ANY answer so I know there's more than just cobwebs in there!

    Interviews to me are a learning experience and can be quite interesting and amusing….

  5. novice-hr permalink
    09/15/2009 17:12

    Wow… if only the pool of candidates that I'm competing against is like the one you've interviewed than I would absolutely get the offer! too bad it's not London here =(

  6. HRD permalink
    09/17/2009 09:22

    @Anon – Its a practical test of prioritisation… olive first or shaker….
    @class-factotum – …'re scaring me!
    @puf – Absolutely, its easy….I'm not above flattery!
    @sayya – My worst experience was standing up from an interview and realising that my leg had gone to sleep…..only seconds before I keeled over and landed on the floor….
    @novice-hr – I'm sure you would have been signifcantly better….although saying that it would be hard to be worse

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