There’s no accounting for taste.

One of my friends has recently been interviewing for a placement student (as you can tell, not only do I spend my days working on such things, I spend my evenings & weekends talking about them too!).

The placement involved a rotation around 4 departments, so there were 4 parties to the selection process.  There were 4 interviewees – lets call them W, X, Y & Z.

All four interviewers were experienced professionals, working to the same brief, yet their grading of the applicants were wildly different.  My friend and 1 colleague independently of each other graded them W best, then X, then Y & Z worst – with Y & Z both deemed unsuitable.  The other 2 interviewers, again independently, both graded them Z best, then Y, then X, finally W worst – with X & W both deemed unsuitable.

How can this be I hear you cry?  I suppose the only response to that is that all interviewers are individuals, and whilst recruitment processes are designed to be as objective as possible, it’s impossible to take individuals opinions out of interviews.

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It’s not just interviews of course – a fellow careers consultant the other day was recounting the only time they tried to give careers advice to their partner – advising that the partner’s CV was too long, rambling, and did not address the needs of the role.  Of course, the partner not only got an interview using that CV, they went right through the selection process and got the job.

All this might imply that job hunting is purely chance and there’s no point coming to see people like me as the advise we give won’t make any difference.  I’d certainly agree that no careers consultant can guarantee your success, but effective conversations with good careers consultants can help you understand what types of role to apply for, and how to express how aligned your skills and desires are in writing and in conversation, meaning that, on average, you should be more successful than you would of been.

But of course I would say that wouldn’t I.

Graham @ HenleyCareers