When To Say “No Thanks” To An Interview


“I have the perfect position for you” the recruiter said. I was a little taken aback as I had not spoken to this person before. “My Client would like to meet with you tomorrow” he continued. My contract was nearing its end and I needed to find a job soon. So, with very little information, I prepared as best I could for the next day.

I arrived for my interview in good time and was shown into a boardroom by a seemingly nervous, tall man who told me that the Director would be with us shortly.

The Director was clearly not in a hurry and left us sitting for some time. Eventually he burst into the room, looked at me and said “Why are you here?” I was a bit lost for words (unusual for me)! No introduction, no apology for keeping me waiting? As this short, chubby man seated himself next to the nervous tall man, the thought occurred to me – I am being interviewed by Laurel & Hardy! That picture got me through what by all accounts was an epic interview fail. “I am not looking for someone who has worked for Mickey Mouse Companies” Mr Chubby Director said. I fought to suppress an obvious puzzled look as I had worked for 3 listed companies. “You don’t have enough sales experience” was his next retort. My next question to him …. “Why am I here?”

It was as clear that I would never have fitted in with this Company’s culture, as I was not what they were looking for and that sort of culture was certainly not what I was looking for. A total waste of time for all concerned and it could have been avoided. Hopefully you can take away a few tips from my experience and be cautious if you encounter any of the following:

  • Your CV was submitted to the Company without your prior consent.

Let’s for a moment imagine that I have your CV on my database and a Client contacts me with a job order. As recruiters do, I drop whatever I am doing and enthusiastically attack my database to see if I can find a match. Your CV pops up first, and as I read through your skills set and experience, my Serotonin levels sky rocket and I cease to think! I beat the world land speed record getting back to my Client and without considering a dip into the pool of “how things should be done”, rush your CV off and impatiently await feedback. The Client calls back and says something along the lines of ….. “This candidate works for my brothers Company, I wonder if he knows that (….fill in candidates name…) is looking for a new job?” The damage done would send me for a week long soak in the pool of “how things should be done”! But what would the effect be on you? If a recruiter cannot see the dangers of this type of practice, I would think twice before putting my career progression or even more so, my salary negotiations in their hands.

  • You did not have an in-depth interview with the recruiter beforehand.

“This job is perfect for you!” How would I know that if I didn’t take the time to find out exactly what you want, what you can bring to the table, where your strengths lie and what outstanding achievements you have wowed past and/or present employers with? If I have not bothered to get to know you as a person, how will I know if you will fit in with the Company culture? Yes I know that it’s exciting and a good stroke to the ego to get a call from a recruiter telling you that you are the perfect candidate for a top position. But, if they do not have an intimate relationship with the pool of “how things should be done”, chances are they are wasting your time!

  • The recruiter failed to give you a detailed description of the job requirements.

This is a bit like buying a lotto ticket. You have no idea what the winning combination is going to be but hey, you’ve “gotta be in it to win it”. But, this is your career and spinning a wheel and hoping for the best is not an option. The recruiter has opened the door but now you have to sell yourself. If a recruiter cannot supply you with details of qualifications / skills needed, what the job entails, what challenges you would be facing if you were awarded the position and background info on the Company and persons interviewing you – point them in the direction of the pool of “how things should be done” and move on.

I could certainly add to the above but would love to hear from you. Have you had any similar experiences?