Negative Nancy’s rarely get the job!

As a recruiter I have met HUNDREDS of people!!! While everyone is different i.e. different skills, appearances and backgrounds, what do you think is the one quality that makes a candidate stand out from the masses???…………………………..POSITIVITY!!!

As an interviewer, no matter if you are an agency recruiter or an internal hiring manager, the most frustrating interviews are held with those that have a negative view on life. The ability to turn negatives into positives is a rare skill, but something that I think everybody should strive towards!

When I ask “Why did you leave your last job”? I am really not looking for any of the following answers;

  1. “My boss was really negative all the time, and I didn’t like him/her”
  2. “I had no friends in the company”
  3. “I haven’t been promoted”

While these things may be true, sometimes it’s all in the delivery of the answer that can make or break your chances at interview. Therefore before you answer, put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. What are they likely to think of the above answers?

  1. Why was the manager negative towards this candidate? Was it because they were a poor performer?
  2. Why did she have no friends? Concerning.
  3. Were they not promoted because they were a poor performer?

Even if the last company you worked for was the worst company on the face of the earth, it is important to explain to the interviewer the positives that you got out of working there. Honestly, try to avoid even mentioning the negatives if you can help it because when you leave an interview, you want that interviewer to think positive things about you and your experience. You want them to be excited about the possibility of offering you (or helping you to find) a job. I can guarantee you that if you make even one negative comment without turning it into a positive; you will be remembered by the negative -even if you gave 10 other very positive answers.

You don’t want to be remembered as the candidate “that hated their boss”, you want to be the candidate that “was so positive and engaging that I want to hire him/her!”

You may think that you can rely on your skills and experience to get you over the line… however I cannot even count the number of times that I have chosen to put a person forward to a client with a positive, friendly attitude that is lacking the right experience, OVER that negative Nancy with the perfect resume!

Some food for thought…


To call or not to call – “I am perfect for the advertised job – what do I do now?”

Some of you may read this and think that the answer is quite simple… but there are a few key points to consider before you pick up the phone.

When a recruiter or hiring manager advertises a role they can sometimes be absolutely inundated with calls and a large majority of those calls can be from people that are calling about…. (wait for it)….. absolutely nothing!!!  We know that you must be calling for a reason, however unless you state your question, unfortunately we cannot read your mind (though we often wish we could) to guess what piece of information it is that you might be looking for.

Moral to this story – call with a purpose! Identify what you want to achieve from your call before you pick up the phone (e.g. Is it close to public transport? Is my experience suitable? etc.) Simply stating that you are calling in regards to “job xyz” is not giving the recruiter the piece of information they need to help you.

The second most important thing to consider about that call, is making sure that the questions you have aren’t already addressed in the advert. E.g. If the advert states that “the role is part-time and  located in North Sydney”, don’t call and ask “is the role full-time?” or “where is the role located?”. Ultimately this is telling the recruiter that you have poor attention to detail.

Again, some might think that what I am explaining is quite straight forward, however just this morning I advertised a temporary assignment and was inundated with no less than 20 calls in the first hour from people that had absolutely no reason behind their call except to say that they have seen my advert.

Lastly, when you do call, try to sound enthusiastic and let the recruiter know your name before you start shooting questions at them!!! When a candidate calls and they sound like they have just woken up and they can barely string a sentence together – they are doing themselves more harm than good!

When I do get a phone call from somebody that speaks clearly, calls with a purpose, sounds friendly and engaging and can clearly tell me why they think they are right for the job advertised – I will often book them in for an interview without even waiting for their resume to come through!