Five steps to interview disaster

Don’t be scared – we’re going to tell you a cautionary tale…

Normally, we concentrate on all the good things you can do to improve your job hunt. But today, we hope you won’t be copying what we have to say!

It’s time to see what could happen if you do everything wrong on route to the interview and beyond. We hope seeing all these pitfalls will help you keep away from making basic mistakes!

Step one: Wake up late

You come round but you’re still tired – after all, you did stay up until one in the morning worrying. But just a sec, it doesn’t feel like it can be that early, with the sunlight that’s coming through the window… You check your phone. It’s 10am – and you forgot to set your alarm.

Already panicked, you tell yourself that at least the interview isn’t until 11am. You can still make it, but it’s going to be a rush.

Before you’ve even showered (do you have time to shower?!) it’s time for a frantic trip to the wardrobe. Are any of these clothes actually going to be wearable? Have any of them been ironed? Oh well, in the absence of proper outfit planning, you’ll have to smooth out that smart top and hope the bigger creases have disappeared a little by the time you hit the interview room…

Step two: take a disastrous journey

You get out the door half an hour later. It’s looking like you probably won’t make it on time, but you’ve not got a second to spare so phoning up to let people know seems out of the question. And anyway, they won’t mind if you’re ten minutes late, right?

Suddenly, you remember that you’ve not actually got the slightest clue where the interview is meant to be. You were going to look it up last night, but then you ended up putting it off, and trying to distract yourself from interview nerves by hitting the games console.

Late and confused, you try to jog while simultaneously looking up the postcode of the place you’re heading to and putting it into Google Maps on your phone. On cue, the internet is taking an age to load – meanwhile you try and tell yourself those sweat patches you’re getting from jogging will have dried by the time you arrive…

Step three: making a less than fantastic of a first impression.

As you step through the door of the employer’s premises, you can see in the glass that your hair is a state. If only you had a moment to sort that – but it seems like someone has already stepped over to greet you. You try and remember how you’re meant to handle this interaction, and stick out a sweaty hand, panting as you say a quick hi, your eyes fixed on the floor. You’ve just spotted that you’re wearing odd socks. It’s only afterwards you think that perhaps you should have said sorry for being late…

Step four: An ill-prepared interview

There’s no time to gain any calm or let the sweat dry off – you’ve wasted too much of this employer’s time already and they want to get the meeting started.

As you sit down, slouched with fatigue from your unplanned morning run, your mind is distracted by the day’s mistakes. You miss the employer’s first question, and when you get them to repeat it, it seems like it’s a friendly enquiry about whether you’ve heard about the company’s big news. This sounds like it should be an easy one but… what on earth is she talking about? Are you really meant to have checked the website for this sort of thing in advance?

Luckily, the interviewer seems happy to do a lot of the talking, and when she indicates that maybe you should answer, you seem to be able to get away with a word or two – which is good as your heart is still racing quite a bit. It goes by very fast – it’s almost like she doesn’t feel it’s worth talking to you for long. And when she asks if you have any questions, you shake your head. After all, that proves you know it all already, right?

Step Five: The post-interview panic

Five minutes after your interview, you feel fine. You made it through! But slowly, you start to think about it all in a bit more detail. Then a lot of detail. By the time you’re back home, you’re convinced you’ll have to wear dark glasses every time you go into town from now on, in case the interviewer ever spots you and starts laughing.

The rest of the day is filled with flashbacks of your odd socks and that question about teamwork you flunked. But what can you do? Perhaps when the next interview rolls around you’ll just have to play even more video games the night before and distract yourself properly this time… right?

We hope no one reading this has ever had an interview experience quite like this! But if some parts of it strike a chord, remember that there’s advice out there geared towards limiting the chances of experiences like those seen in this fictional farse!