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It’s Great to Be Keen…But Not Too Keen!

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by Sam Palmer

7 months ago

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I had a great candidate being interviewed for a long term contract for a specialised legal secretarial role. As I’m sure you are aware by now, the ‘search’ race is hotly contested to secure highly specialised legal support talent. As this was a long term contract role, an interview process was required. The candidate was briefed on the role and the format of the interview, who she would be meeting and the time and place of the interview. So far so good! So when the candidate rang me about five minutes after the allotted interview time, I thought uh oh, what’s happened? 

The candidate was very excited, loved the role and the firm and was keen to accept the role if offered. I asked her how she could make such a decision after 5 minutes and she said that she had had a 45 minute interview. She had arrived an hour early, to show the interviewer how keen she was! 

This is a very risky strategy, it can really put the interview off side as they have a time schedule for the interview ( usually back to back interviews are arranged) and they also should be using the time prior to the interview to prepare, before meeting the candidate. In this case, this is exactly the feedback I received from the Line Manager. It’s very unlikely that a line manager will send someone away or keep them waiting in reception, it does happen but not often. 

The line manager rang me and sounded very rattled. She didn’t believe she had had sufficient time to prepare for the interview and that she had wanted to inform the candidate about the role and the firm in a thorough manner. At the time of writing, the candidate is still being considered for the role, as second interviews are also required. 

But whilst the candidate thought she was showing how keen she was, I had to explain to her that she may have jeopardised her chances as she had not followed the advice provided to her in her interview briefing. The hiring manager is also aware of the interview briefing process. 

Of course, never, ever be late for an interview, but also, don’t be an hour early. Arrive about 5 – 10 early, so you can collect your thoughts prior to your interview. You want to be able to leave the interviewer with a lasting and positive impression of you and not on the verge of a ‘meltdown’!

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