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Secrets of Recruiters: “I found out that the CV was false”

Joanne Thomas, recruiter at Oliver Wyman in London, talks about her experience in job interviews and her biggest surprise so far

Questions that you always ask in a job interview?

My aim from an interview is to get a good understanding of who the candidate is, not only in terms of what their relevant skills and experiences are for the role they have applied for, but also what their potential is and what motivates them for the role and in working for Oliver Wyman. I’m keen to elicit examples from the candidate about the really interesting stuff: their project contributions and achievements, their subject-matter leadership, their personal and professional career goals, successes and accomplishments, any initiatives and ideas that they have formulated then implemented, and finally what they hope to achieve next in their career.

Answers you can’t hear anymore 

Generic and inauthentic interview answers! It can be very obvious when a candidate is “too prepared” for an interview and answers like they are following a script, giving me generic buzzwords and terms that they think will impress me; being over-prepared can also mean that a candidate answers the question that they have prepared for, not necessarily the question I have asked. Being able to discuss your CV and experiences fluidly and with originality and integrity is essential.

 An Example of a terrible answer

I once told a candidate “Tell me more about experience X on your CV”. The candidate became uncertain and hesitant in answering and struggled to give me any further details of what I thought to be a very relevant piece of work experience. After a few awkward moments of them not being able to elaborate on any of the statements of work achievements on their CV, the candidate brazenly admitted that their CV was false and it was actually mostly plagiarized from the CV of an ex-colleague. Upon challenging them about falsifying their CV and applying for a job they had neither the qualifications nor experience to do, I got the response “As I just really fancy doing this job – how hard can it be?”

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