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What can we learn from Channel 4’s The Job Interview?

Monday, 19 March 2018

Who’s watching The Job Interview on Channel 4?

We’re a bit addicted to the intimate observational series that follows real people in one of the most difficult tasks any of us will undertake: the job interview.

Featuring real applicants searching for real vacancies, The Job Interview showcases the best and the worst of candidates, with all the mishaps, faux pas and mistakes we dread making right there on the screen in front of us.

As Episode 6 airs this week, we wonder what we can learn from the interviews we’ve seen so far.

The format is the same as Series 1 – two companies, two jobs, two pairs of interviewers, two sets of candidates.

Episode 1 found Virgin Rail looking for an onboard customer service agent along with beauty brand Ciaté wanting to recruit a social media assistant, while in Episode 2 luxury spa Champneys were looking for a receptionist and Heck Foods for a product developer, and Episode 3 was searching for a junior designer for fashion label Chi Chi London and Hilton Hotels were looking for a conference and banqueting supervisor.

All the usual ‘why do you want this job’, ‘why do you think you would be a good fit’, etc questions were asked from all sets of employers, along with some more searching requests – all answered with varying degrees of nervousness and competency. However, the thing that struck us the most was the lack of preparation from many candidates. Along with brushing up your CV and online profiles, presenting yourself appropriately and making sure you have rehearsed answers to the most often asked questions, researching the company and individuals who are about to interview you is the most important thing to do!

During the Champneys interviews, candidates were asked if they knew the names and roles of the people interviewing them – surprisingly, only one candidate could correctly answer that question!

The ladies from Ciaté asked the interviewees if they knew what Ciaté stood for – most didn’t even know it was an acronym let alone what it stood for – a fact that took us about two minutes to find on their website!

And for Debbie Keeble, the co-founder of independent sausage maker Heck Foods, she told us that the biggest mistake a candidate can make is not tasting their products beforehand – only one had!

“There are some fundamental things I would expect people to know about our business, like knowing our strap line (‘Flavour you can swear by’) and the different varieties.

“Some of the candidates hadn’t even tried our sausages!” she said.

Episode 4 saw candidates interviewing for a job with e-commerce giant Groupon, some of whom couldn’t tell their interviewer what Groupon really did! And don’t get us started on the candidate in Episode 5 who was interviewing for a job to sell cruises to customers for Cruise Nation who couldn’t point out Australia on a map of the world!

So do your homework. Familiarise yourself with both the company and your interviewer(s) if you know who they are going to be. Appearing knowledgeable about the company where you would like to work proves that you have both taken the time to do some research and also have some genuine enthusiasm.

Image credit: Channel 4