Despite the title of this article, the first thing I have to say is that I love recruiting. Being able to match up the right employee to the right role is hugely satisfying. And I meet some real stars, who I know will go on to great things.

The job interview is such a uniquely short-spanned and artificial setting that you never quite know what candidates will do or say. I guess that’s what can make it so interesting. What amazes me, time and again, are the excuses that candidates come up with. And this may sound really harsh, but there have been a number of times I have had to stop myself from saying “I don’t care” when hit with a lame excuse from a potential employee. Let me explain.

If the candidate is late for an interview, I don’t care that it’s because they had to spend 10 minutes looking for their cat, the traffic was bad, or they had to run an errand (to name just a few excuses I have heard). But it does make me wonder whether this candidate has a problem with priorities and/or lateness in general.

If the candidate apologises that they don’t know anything about the role or company they have applied for, I don’t care that it’s because they have applied for so many jobs they couldn’t remember which one this was. This is the only job I am interested in interviewing them for.

By way of example: if the candidate for a hairstylist’s role turns up with a bad hair-do, I don’t care that it’s because they had been experimenting with their hair the night before and it all went drastically wrong and couldn’t be fixed in time for the interview. I want to know candidates can present themselves well and represent our client’s brand well.

Another excuse was from a candidate who turned up to a speed interview with a fan in her hand and proceeded to tell the client and I that she was going through “that stage of life” and might have a hot flush. The candidate was out of the running before the job interview even got underway as she’d shared too much personal information at the most inappropriate time, blurring the professional/personal life boundary.

Whatever the excuse, it should ring warning bells, because it might indicate a person who doesn’t fit with your company values and culture or who isn’t as professional as you need them to be.

Every interaction with a candidate is an opportunity to assess their fit for the role and your business. As an employer or a recruiter, you want to know that the person is capable of managing their personal and work life and can act with professionalism. So if you don’t like the excuse you’ve been given, then listen to your gut feel and take that into consideration when deciding who to appoint to the role.

And if you would like help in this area, drop us a line or give us a call 07 823 3250 – we would love to help.