There’s a fine line between coming across as warm, friendly and funny and a bit too weird, wacky and off the wall. Whether you’re at home updating your CV or lining up a video interview, it’s good to know where to draw the line when it comes to revealing personal traits and details.
Bond Williams has been privy to thousands of CVs and two things stick in our mind – the very best and the very worst. We’ve also had some interesting feedback relating to questions asked in interviews. We’re sharing our advice to ensure you’re prepared and mindful when engaging with a potential employer.
Hobbies on CVs
Although you may assume extra-curricular activities enhance your social credibility, the advice is to only include hobbies and achievements if they directly link to the job you are applying for. Don’t be tempted to list socialising, watching TV and going to the pub as past times, for example, but do include that you’re part of a book group if you’re applying for a job at a publishing house. Likewise, if your hobby is blogging about food, this is good to mention if you’re sending your CV off to catering company.
Stick to the truth
Outright lies, creative ‘spins’ and even subtle embellishments have no place on a CV or in an interview. Don’t lie about your age, qualifications, achievements or career history. If you do, you will compromise any position that may be offered, be rumbled at the referencing stage or by HR, and will inevitably be exposed as you settle into your new job.
This goes for your CV, all written correspondence and interviews. Although text speak may come naturally, shortened words and colloquialisms can portray candidates as lazy. Quirky spellings also fall into the same category. ‘C U 2moro, B4N x’ is not appropriate in an email, neither is referring to your colleagues as ‘werk boiiis’.
Keep misplaced irony and satire for your friends
You may think sardonic answers and witty quips during an interview make you look clever but you don’t want to come across as disrespectful or leave yourself open to being misconstrued – especially with a potential employer you don’t know. Hold back when asked questions such as ‘what is your biggest achievement?’ and ‘who inspires you most?’ (note: eating a KFC party bucket by yourself and Homer Simpson are not valid replies).
Answering curve ball questions
If you were a pizza topping, what would you be? How does the internet work? Have you ever been on a boat? Employers may try to establish your level of critical thinking by using unconventional questions during interviews. More often than not, it’s how you respond – not whether you know the answer – that will impact the interview outcome.
If you’re thrown a curve ball, take a deep breath and stay calm before you speak. If you can, tailor your answer to suit the job you are applying for or use your reply to highlight relevant skills and experiences. It’s also OK to think about the question – ask to supply your answer at the end of the interview to buy yourself some time.
If you would like advice on creating a sensible CV or how to prepare for interviews, don’t hesitate to contact Bond Williams.