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Three things not to discuss in an interview

by Natalie Atherall | 2 January 2019

As a Recruitment Consultant a large part of the process that I manage is preparing candidates for interview and assisting with tips and advice. Whilst the clients I recruit for all look for different things in new team members, there are certain things that almost all of them would rather not discuss in interview and are best left to your Recruitment Consultant. I thought I would share my tips below on the three most important things to leave out of the conversation.

  1. Criticising current or old employers: in my experience this is never a good idea. It is generally frowned upon to bad mouth your old boss, no matter how tempting it might be. It might give the impression that the problem is YOU, or that you have an attitude problem, and also cause the client to think about it as if they were your previous employer – no-one likes to be spoken badly of and it may put them off completely.
  2. Money: most people feel uncomfortable talking about money, it is just one of those things. Unless the interviewer brings this up, I would really encourage you to leave that to your Recruitment Consultant. If you are comfortable talking about salary and hourly rate that is completely fine, just remember the person opposite might not be, and it might throw them off for the rest of the interview.
  3. Working from home: too often we hear feedback from clients that the candidate discussed home working and what their requirements were at the interview stage. Whilst this may not be a negative thing to discuss, it can sometimes create a bad impression. Some organisations can be put off by this as demanding a set amount of days from home each week in an interview, when you haven’t yet been offered the role. This can sometimes come across as demanding if it is not approached in the right way. I would advise candidates to discuss this with their Recruitment Consultant first and allow them to speak to the organisation on your behalf. By doing this, the interviewer may decide to ask you about your needs, making the conversation easier to have.

The three points above are by no means a one size fits all; there will absolutely be interviewers and organisations that are more than happy to discuss things like hourly rate, annual salary and home working in interview. There is an argument that being upfront and honest from the outset is a good way to start which I agree with, but I think this needs to be with your Recruitment Consultant, rather than the interview panel. The above are simply tips that I would give any candidate, as in my experience discussing any or all of those points can impact negatively on the interview, and therefore your chances of securing the role.

For more tips on how to conduct yourself at interview visit our candidate resources. Alternatively, if you are looking for your next legal role and want some advice, get in touch and I will be more than happy to help.