Gone in 60 seconds? Google it.

Gone in 60 seconds…Google it

As you’ll know if you read my blog I’ve been on a major recruitment drive of late, which prompted my post on job applications; I now equally moved to comment on the interview stage. I’ve read countless do’s and don’ts regarding interviews over the years, so the advice is out there. Yet I continue to be amazed by the things people do, say and wear to job interviews that ensure they’re effectively, gone in 60 seconds.

I really want to keep this post positive and steer clear of ever tempting sarcasm, so here are the do’s for acing interviews:

Show up on time, early if possible and remember to call ahead with a reasonable excuse, if for some reason you are going to be late. Recruiters are human too, so if you have a legitimate reason it’s ok. Know who you are interviewing with, google them! It’s amazing what you can find out about people through a quick search. Check out their LinkedIn profile or look them up on social media. Be appropriately dressed. Just today I had a candidate ask at the end of the phone interview what the appropriate dress standard was for our workplace – smart guy! He’s from a completely different industry, and I respected him for caring enough to ask. And if the response is “smart casual” or “corporate” and you don’t know what that means, take the 60 seconds to Google it also.

From there make an effort to learn about the company you’re interviewing with. Some quick internet research will go a long way, and the more knowledgeable you are about the company the more the interviewer is likely to think you really want to be there and have put in some effort to achieve your goal. It also tells us something about the sort of person you are. Researching first will also enable you to ask well-formed questions about the company and the role. On that, questions are great, and we expect you to come equipped with some.

During the interview be sure to think about your responses before they come out. Well formulated, positive answers will be well received. Research. Again, Google it. There are so many great blogs, posts, articles and the like detailing the more frequently asked interview questions. Now whilst we don’t all run the same script, and there will likely be some out of the ball park it will still be great practise and prepare you for the sorts of things you may be asked. Better skill Google interview questions for the industry you are applying for.

Let your personality shine through. As much as we want you to have the right skill set for the role, we also want to make sure you’ll be a great fit, culturally within the team and organisation.

Smile. Look people in the eye. Engage all interviewers. Tell relevant stories. Sell yourself to us. Simple tips that will take you a long way.

None of this is rocket science and most should go without saying. However I’ve seen some things in my role over the years that make me adamant more attention needs to be paid. Here’s some short and sweet don’ts that I can’t resist adding in:

-          Turn up in gumboots, unless the interview’s on a farm
-          Spend 35 mins bad mouthing your current or ex boss / company
-          Have 68 questions, for the interviewer
-          Discuss your out of work interests if they include time travelling
-          Pretend to know people the interviewees know if you don’t actually know them
-          Keep talking if you’re the only one who’s done so for the last hour

Nail all these and you won’t be gone in 60 seconds…and if you take time to Google it, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the job. No guarantees!

A.A.(RDDL)…. Application advice (rant, do/don’t list)

As you may (or may not!) know I’m a generalist covering off the full spectrum of HR in my current role. As such, recruiting and the trials, tribulations and successes of that have always featured, however they do more so now, than ever.

My company have sailed through a raft of change of late; a new Group Sales Director and new CEO, a number of restructures in various forms and departments, the full acquisition of some major brands to our umbrella and a whole host of technologically advanced product offerings to see us into the ever evolving future. As a result, as well as various change management, communications, culture and engagement pieces around all of this, I am now in the biggest recruitment drive for this department to date. 16 – 20 new staff, of varying skill sets, experience and locations; all required asap.

It’s set me to experimenting with new recruiting avenues, meeting with external recruiters, conducting seemingly endless phone screens, interviews and background/reference checks. There’s a room for a whole other blog post on the wins in this and debate over application methods, but for now I’m focusing on the application; letter and CV in this instance.

I’ll start with the don’ts so I can focus on the positives at the end!

Don’t:

  • Send a 12 page applications including barely relevant information such as magazine articles, I have hundreds of CV’s to get through and simply haven’t got time to read through all of that.
  • Use a different name on your cover letter, CV and email note – it’s very confusing!
  • Use font so big you only get six lines on a page. Or use current abbreviations of language or slang. 
  • Use so many graphics on the background of your CV that I can’t read the information contained in it. No matter how cool you think skateboarding or cupcakes are, it won’t help you get hired.
  • Use an email address that makes me suspicious or wary of your character; ilovemileycyrus@gmail.com or cannabis@hotmail.com  – ok they’re made up, but not far from some of the addresses I’ve seen of late.
  • Include links to your social media if they contain anything you wouldn’t want your Nana to know. I don’t want to know either and it could sway my decision.


On to the Do’s!

  • Send me a brief, succinct overview of your experience and achievements (CV), and an explanation of what drew you to apply and how your skill set is a match, and/or your career goals again, be concise (letter). Two pages max for the CV and no more than a page for the letter.
  • Include graphics and/or examples of work IF they’re relevant to the role – this is especially helpful if it is a creative role on offer.
  • Be different. Get my attention by trying something new – but it still has to make sense. I recently received a fantastic infographic application– it was informative and professional. Unfortunately the person wasn’t right for the role – but they got a call from me and a referral to another role that they were much better suited for and we all lived happily ever after.
  • Have a LinkedIn profile. If you’re serious about looking for a new role, and professional in your approach most people will be happy to connect with you.
  • Send me your details even if the roles advertised aren’t perfect for you. I do read all CV’s so as long as you follow the Do’s and Don’ts here and you’ve got something I’m looking for now or potentially in the future, I will make contact. To be fair even if you don’t I’ll give you the politeness of a reply. 
  • Be professional. Showcase yourself – your successes and standouts.
  • Include links to blogs you are proud of that relate to the role in some way. If you’ve got me on the first points I’ll be curious enough to take a look and they just might be your selling point.


The best CV’s I’ve seen of late have been short, sharp and told a great story. They flowed through the relevant information in a succinct manner using a regular font (type and size). Essentially they made it easy for me to pull together a picture of the person’s skills and experience in a matter of a minute, sometimes less. There were no obstacles in my path to knowing why I should call them. So if you’re in the job market have a think about the above. If you’re new to applying (or not!) ask someone else to critique you, preferably someone who will be honest and give you sound feedback, better still, someone who employs people. And if you can’t find that there are plenty of careers advice centres who will be only too happy to help.

And if you get a rejection letter from a recruiter, be brave and bold enough to ask why you didn’t make the cut. You’ll probably learn a lot from this – I know from experience! I speak for myself here, but if asked for feedback I will always give it – however, I won’t offer it without the ask as I don’t want to offend.

I look forward to some spectacularly simple yet gripping CV’s from here on in….next stop the phone screen and interview!