HECK’s Debbie Keeble reveals the worst mistakes you can make in a job interview

First impressions are vital when it comes to a job interview – especially if the recruiter you’re trying to win over makes up their mind in the first five minutes.

And that's exactly what happens, according to insiders from major British firms Virgin Trains, Aston Martin, HECK Foods and Ciate London, all of whom have revealed exactly what they look for in a strong candidate, to mark the return of Channel 4 series The Job Interview.

The show follows an eclectic group of job-seekers from across the country as they vie for the opportunity to work for some of the country's best known brands - and the only things standing between them and success is how they present themselves in front of the panel. 

HECK's Debbie Keeble, who spent hours meeting with candidates, have revealed some of the most common - and most damaging - things that dash applicants' chances time and again.



What are the worst/biggest mistakes an interviewee can make?

Poor preparation, or as Andrew said on the programme, "The Three Ps". There are some fundamental things I would expect people to know about our business, like our strap line ("flavour you can swear by") and the different varieties. Some of the candidates hadn't even tried our sausages!

The winning candidate had done their homework, gone beyond the brief and also gone the extra mile.  And had a superb palette which was the winning card; a sort of "sausage sommelier!"


How quickly do you decide when a candidate is the one for the job?

By the CV stage you should know if the person has the technical skills for the job. The interview is all about bringing it to life and understanding what drives people, what fires them up and what their personality is like. It's also important that they would fit in with our culture as we are still a family and friends business, but incredibly fast moving. And also, of course, that they love food.

As we said on the programme, the job is very right and left brain thinking. Having the creative passion for food, the scientific know how and the right business skills. The job is science and creativity all wrapped up into one delicious package. We like to think we are the Willy Wonka of the sausage world.


What are the strangest questions you ask?

The questions about "what type of sausage you are" certainly threw up some interesting answers!


What are the strangest questions you have been asked in an interview?

What was quite interesting is that we didn't actually get asked that many questions, which was quite disappointing.

What can someone do to really impress you and stand out?

Our final choice was the "wildcard" but they made the cut because they went the extra mile and hand delivered their CV to our house. That made me think they really wanted the job.


This Thursday you will be able to watch HECK in the search for a new team member on Channel 4’s The Job Interview. Watch on Channel 4 at 10pm on 22 February, or catch up on the episode on All4 for 30 days after the show.

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