You couldn’t make this stuff up! Well you could, but then it would be just a made up story… with no redeemable features… and no substance… kinda like Oscar Pistorius’ little tale.
Let me frame it for you.
Recently there has been a shift in mindset with some of our clients. They are looking to grow their businesses with young rookie talent from outside of industry. Theory is, you won’t have to deprogram consultants who have come with bad habits from other agencies. We have seen a lot of success with this process – young, enthusiastic prospects with strong B2B experience and a positive attitude.
Anyway… last Tuesday, my 10:30am interview arrives promptly at 10:13am. I go out to reception to greet him and find he has brought along his mother… no big deal… often our candidates are driven in to interviews by someone else…
‘Hi Rodney, I’m Craig nice to meet you.’ I produce my hand, we shake… and before I can produce another well crafted syllable…
‘And I’m Marjory… Rodney’s mum.’ Imagine Kathy Bates from Misery. She was a pretty imposing figure, with a little too much hair on her upper lip, way too much poorly applied make-up and a bright yellow anorak style overcoat… no disrespect intended… but it was 27 degrees celsius outside…
‘Well good morning Mrs Trotter.’ I smiled.
‘Not Mrs. Trotter… Marjory.’ She glared back. Was she just letting me know she was single?
‘Ok…. Marjory… I’ll be with Rodney for about an hour. There’s a fantastic coffee shop downstairs if you would prefer to relax and wait for him there?’
‘No… no.’ Marjory replied looking at Rodney. ‘I’ll come into the interview with him.’
Strange… and a little rattled I succumbed.
I offered tea, coffee or water. Rodney deferred to his mother and she answered in the negative… for both on them. We sat in the meeting room, and I dutifully began the interview.
‘So, Rodney… when we spoke on the phone we went through the role fairly thoroughly. So given the couple of days you have had to digest… the first question I want to ask you is why do you want a career in recruitment?’
Rodney fidgeted… looked at his mum… opened his mouth… and…
‘Well Rodney really likes working with people.’ I looked at Marjory… Rodney looked at Marjory… and she continued.
‘You see Rodney really has the gift of the gab. He is excellent at building rapport and developing relationships. I believe they are key strengths and very important in recruitment.’
‘Yes.’ I nodded. ‘So Rodney, in your last role you were a telecommunications BDM. Was that B2B or B2C?’
‘What does that mean?’ Again. Marjory.
‘I’m sorry Mrs… Marjory.’ I said. ‘ I really need Rodney to respond to the questions if that’s ok with you?’
Rodney stared wide-eyed at his mother, and she glared at me.
‘Fine.’ She sat back in her chair.
‘Well… er… it was… ummmm…’
‘Oh for God’s sake!’ Marjory interrupted. ‘Stop mumbling and speak up!’
I was horrified. Rodney seemed resigned to it all… and Marjory sat there, tightly gripping her handbag over her knees, eyes bulging, nostrils flaring and the hair on her upper lip quivering.
Needless to say I brought the interview to as natural as an end as I could… I did wonder if she was carrying a tiny sledgehammer in her bag that she used to hobble unsuspecting interviewers who failed to employ her son, but this was unfounded…
My point? Well my point is recruiters should know better.
Sure Rodney was a rookie, but I have come across some really experienced and successful recruiters who are damn awful in an interview. Research, know your billings, be able to articulate examples of your success and above all follow the advice you give your own candidates. It’s really not that hard…