60 seconds with Laura Saunders

As regular bloggers we utilise our wealth of experience and form an opinion and then, well put it out there as if its gospel. But today we put a name to some of the opinions we have.

We recently did 60 seconds with our very own Commercial Lead Laura Saunders. With almost 10 years’ experience in operational roles with large corporates, such as British Gas and BT, Laura most recently headed up the delivery department in one of Europe’s largest BPOs and has therefore interviewed a fair few people in her time.

Well Laura, this is awkward isn’t it?

Yes, I’m not sure how keen I am on you interviewing me, but hey let’s give it a shot.

How many CVs do you think you had seen prior to HIJOBS?

Hundreds and if I’m honest I was lucky I normally had an HR Team vet them first so only the ‘better’ ones got through. Meaning that they were normally a pretty good quality. For me, it was very important to have briefed the person screening the CVs on exactly what I was looking for or some good people would slip through. That’s why it’s important to stand out in your CV, as its sad but true reviewing CVs can be a very dull job but when you find a good one you just want to keep on reading.

What normally made you want to interview that person?

For me layout was important, I wanted something that was clean, smart, symmetrical and easy to read. Other pretty standard points (though nevertheless important) are that there are no spelling mistakes, always get someone to proof read it. Make sure the dates flow correctly, so that I am not asking ‘what was the guy doing for all that time?’ and make sure you tell the truth or at least a version! Yes, everyone wants to come across well, but sometimes it’s so obviously ‘stretched’ shall we say. For example not many people go from being a Check-Out Operative to the CEO in less than 6 months.

What kind of interview style did you have?

Relatively informally, yes I would clearly be evaluating the person against the job description but for me, people make a business and therefore the fit against an organisation is of key importance. It is a cliché but I really did make my mind up very quickly. Gut instinct is very rarely wrong in these situations. I was however obsessed with timing and regularly refused to interview candidates who were late, even if it was only by a minute or two.

Favourite interview question?

I would also finish an interview with the same one ‘its Monday morning, you have fallen out with your partner, it’s raining outside and you’ve just missed the bus – what motivates you to come in put your head down and do your job?’ I found it worked well because you got a lot out of the answer you could tell by the look on some peoples face that they would turn round and go back to bed and well others gave a heartfelt response.

Most memorable interview?

That’s hard. Well I have two. Can I say two? So the first was with a fairly young chap, it seemed to start of well but then his answers became funnier and funnier until I realised that he was two sheets to the wind, that’s right he had clearly stopped off at the pub on his way in so that was quickly aborted and yes, on that occasion my gut was right too. The second is a far more positive story. We shall call this lady, Clare, that not her name but she will know who she is and I wouldn’t like to give her a big head. So Clare didn’t stand out too much on her CV, just ticked all the boxes but she did stand out thereafter, she contacted me directly after being invited to interview to thank me for progressing her thus far, I thought that was a good start, she arrived for interview nice and early and shook my hand well and gave good eye contact. I liked her. When asked the fairly standard ‘tell me what you know about the company’ questions – Clare told me things I didn’t even know – it was outstanding. She went on to answer all the questions in a well-structured manner, with good examples without being promoted. I also like the fact that she adapted her style throughout the interview depending on the type and way the question was asked. Clare was a quality candidate but was incredibly humble, a very rare and admirable trait. Needless to say, she got the job and was the shining light of my department for years. Sometimes you strike gold.

If you would like any help with the type of interview to contact or how to find quality candidates then feel free to get in touch with Laura directly at laura@hijobs.net