Many times I have sat with a client to help with their interviews. At the end of the process I say “What do you think?”

It often surprises me that things that are either blatant lies, or even hugely exaggerated claims are believed word for word. The naivety of a sometimes experienced businessman is often a concern. “Well he said he did it, and I guess I have to believe him”.

It may come as a shock to you, but some of the best candidates on the surface are trying very hard to impress. And in doing so some will exaggerate the truth, others embellish their history, some or will just plain lie through their teeth.

As an interviewer, you have to ask not what they are saying, but why they are saying it. Be sceptical, ask for proof and can they back it up. Say that you would like to check out their story. See if they have any figures with them, or can quote you figures that back up their claims.

Dig a little deeper, make sure their figures tally with what you would expect, always question if they are different. It’s not exactly Hercule Poirot, but it is an investigation of sorts and you have to expect to be lied to.

A healthy scepticism never did an interviewer much harm.

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Just lots going on this week. Plenty of it relating to the future, some of it to the past. No greater hark back to the past than the announcement that Jaguar have moved on to a three-day working week. That takes us back to about 1974 from memory. Falling sales, concern over Brexit, WLTP, you name it it seems a perfect storm for JLR, a manufacturer that could do no wrong until about three years ago. Are they having real problems, or, as the more cynical might think, is this a way of softening up the British workforce? If they have to make cuts in future, or set up manufacturing elsewhere they can say it was already not working in UK.
The EU is obviously in the news a lot this week, especially with regards to our future trading agreements with them. On the flipside, we forget just how much power both the EU and large companies have in Europe. And an investigation was launched earlier in the week into a cartel that was allegedly created by Germany’s manufacturers BMW, Daimler and VW. The story has already been covered elsewhere, but we are now beyond rumours of a cartel and into an investigation.
And just as Europe sets to over here, the US has announced an investigation into a leader of new technology in the US. Elon Musk’s recent pronouncements about taking Tesla private again fell foul, apparently, of stock market rules. They could be viewed as manipulating the market, and as such he will have to answer some serious questions in front of the US Justice Department. All this just as Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has thrown a substantial investment into Lucid Motors, Tesla’s big rival in the US. The company was rumoured to be desperately seeking investment, this would seem to solve their needs for now.
Have a great weekend, welcome to autumn.

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
Latest Jobs

The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881)
It is possible to be below flattery as well as above it.
Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800 – 1859)
A specification that will not fit on one page of 8.5×11 inch paper cannot be understood.
Mark Ardis
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.
Chuck Reid

We are all pressured, we are all rushed. For many nothing can be more daunting than the prospect of interviewing 10 candidates for the Receptionist’s position that you need to fill.

So we put off thinking about it until the time arrives.  We turn up almost late and point out that we have not got as much time as we would like to complete the interview.  

We have not finished everything before the meeting, so we continue to take calls.  Finally, as they leave we mumble something about seeing everyone soon – we will be in touch within a week.  The candidate hears nothing more.

How much damage is that doing to your company?  First of all the interview was probably been a complete waste of time, you could have spoken on the phone.

Secondly the candidate may have been wound up about this for days – in an already stressed situation he or she has had to put up with interruptions and less than your full attention.

Finally no contact or follow up after the meeting?  They think that you couldn’t care less. On the basis of these events, he is probably right.

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Some candidates have a real problem with this question in interview, especially if they haven’t considered it before. Their dilemma goes something like this, “If I say I have been looking at lots of jobs, they’ll think I’m always on the move. If I say I haven’t, they’ll think they are the only ones in the market.”

My suggestion? Why not be truthful? If you are looking at a number of different opportunities because it is the right time to make a move, then tell them so. If this is the only job you’ve looked at, because you are actually very settled but this one has really piqued your interest, then tell them so.

If you have experience that is in demand, it does no harm to show that they are not the only show in town.

But, if I may recall the spirit of Sir Bruce Forsyth, it might be best to whisper “You’re my favourite” or perhaps slightly less cheesily, “Your company is my first choice”.

Didn’t you do well? Good luck.

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Anti-discrimination legislation has been around for many years now. But people are often surprised at how easy it is to fall into the discrimination trap when interviewing.

So before you interview, just think of the types of question you are going to ask, the types of things you are going to say, and make sure that they cannot be interpreted in the wrong way. Because you cannot be seen to deliberately exclude a section of the workforce that is “protected” under anti discrimination legislation. That could mean Age, Sex, Sexual Preference, Pregnancy, Religion, Disability, Race as a starter – the full list is on the website.

And some of these can be quite subtle.

Most people would know that you cannot ask a female applicant about childcare, their plans for a family or even what their husband does. It is not something you would ask a male in the same situation, so it is automatically discriminatory.

But it is also very dangerous to ask an older candidate what their energy levels are like – do they get tired at the end of the day, can they cope with a stressful environment. It implies that you think that the older people get the less energetic they are. It may or may not be scientifically proven that that is the case, but by asking it you are automatically signalling that you don’t need somebody with those attributes, and therefore the older applicant is at a disadvantage.

And you my rant and rail against this “political correctness”, but for the economy itself it makes a lot of sense. Because everybody tells us there is a lack of talent out there, but most people recruit within very narrow boundaries.

But guess what? There is a wealth of talent out there, but you need to open your minds to precisely where these people can come from. They may not come from the traditional routes in the future, our society and the economy is changing so fast.

So by discriminating you are slowing up your recruitment process, narrowing your pool of talent and making your job much more difficult.

And you might open yourself to a discrimination claim. With unlimited damages.

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If you have interviewed for any length of time, or if you have attended any training courses, then you will certainly know the difference between an open and a closed question.

But if you haven’t, let me enlighten you now. Because you might just get frustrated with how often interviews grind to a halt, how they are just punctuated by a series of grunts from your interviewees.

Open questions make interviews flow much more naturally, closed questions tend to make them go in fits and starts. Because closed questions invite a short, even a one-word answer, open questions almost demand a considered response.

Think of it like talking to a teenager. If you ask “Tell me about your day at school today” then you might just get more than a one-word answer. But if you say “Did you have a good day at school today?”, don’t be disappointed if they answer no more than “yes”.

And so the same goes in interviews if you ask “Explain how your department performed last year” then the respondent needs to give you some information, needs to open a conversation, needs to engage. But if you ask “Did you hit budget last year?” it’s either Yes or No. And you have to ask another question.

Pretty well any question you can think of asking that is closed can be turned into an open question and prompt a conversation rather than just a grunt. People are nervous at interviews, and often they go for the safer one-word answer rather than explaining everything. And you need to bring them out of your shell.

Useful words like “Explain….” or “Take me through….” or “Tell me a little bit about” or even “Why did you….” are all good lead ins to open questions. And open questions lead to open conversations and you will get much more out of your candidates than a series of short answers.

Good luck

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I had my car serviced this week, and as it was picked up I was told there was a recall, just announced that morning. It was to do with reprogramming the computer so that vehicle emissions were improved. With some trepidation I allowed it to go off, worried that it would not “pull the skin off a rice pudding” when it came back. In fact I was wrong, and now appears to be working slightly better than it did before.
So my ears pricked up when I saw that Toyota were recalling 1 million vehicles this week, and Ford 2 million. The latter is doing this almost exclusively in the States. It is over a seat belt defect in one of their big selling trucks. Rather interestingly the seatbelt itself, or its pre-tensioner, can theoretically cause a fire. Toyota’s recall also relates to a fire risk.
All of this comes at a time when Korea is talking about imposing greater penalties on manufacturers who fail to deal with recalls properly. We have already seen a number of manufacturers fined in the US and lambasted across Europe for mishandling recalls. And the South Korean government got particularly exercised over BMW recently regarding a fire risk which the government judged they did not deal with adequately or quickly enough. I always say that it is not necessarily the customer of the manufacturer who gets delighted about such programs, but aftersales managers normally love them. A full workshop, a proper reason to write to your customers and get their vehicles back into the workshop. And something only franchised dealers can deal with. What could be better?
I also see from the FT this week that car sales boomed in August. Before we all get carried away and think the world has been put to rights, let us not forget that with the WLTP deadline of 1 September, there was a lot of old stock to clear. I suspect September and October will yield slimmer pickings.
Have a great weekend. And may your month be going well.

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
Latest Jobs

If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.
Laurence J. Peter (1919 – 1988)
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.
Claud Cockburn (1904 – 1981)
I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them.
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)

It really is a shame. I had a rant a couple of weeks ago about candidates not wasting their own time as well as mine by applying for jobs that they clearly had no qualifications for.

Now a slightly different rant for candidates who feel obliged to apply for the same job, or every single job that we have on our website, on a regular basis. There are a number of you, and you probably know who you are. But the first couple of times it happens we are quite patient – we duly reply and explain which roles you are right for and which are not appropriate.

The next time we point out that it’s the role that you applied for last week. If you were right last week then things are probably already happening, but if you weren’t right last week, it is unlikely you are right 7 days later.

The week after that we begin to run out of patience, and certainly after five or six weeks of this all of a sudden your emails are marked to go into our spam. Nothing personal here you understand, it is just simply we do not have the time to be courteous and reply to your application every time you decide to click a mouse.

Thousands of our candidates use our website properly and responsibly, a tiny minority clearly feel that if they click a mouse often enough, even on jobs they have applied for before, that they are actively looking for a job, actively making applications. I am not sure you are.

You might as well go onto Indeed and select the first 400 jobs that come up and press apply. It won’t do much good, but you might feel better at the end of it. But somewhere down the line an agency either has to decide to be rude and not reply to you, or polite and go to a load of hassle. And it won’t endear you to us.

There, rant over.

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There are hundreds of recruitment consultancies out there, many behave ethically, a number don’t. But then the same could be said of dealers, service departments and any other type of business.

But if you do ask an agency to help, or if you are approached about an opportunity then morally you should give the agency at least some chance of following through and introducing yourself. On a number of occasions recently we have spoken to a candidate and they have listened, probably identified who the company is and then made a direct application through their website.

The problem with this approach is that it makes us more and more reluctant to share proper information with candidates, as they can easily cut us out of the deal. And it also does the candidate no good at all, especially if you are dealing with a reputable organisation.

Because they will take the view that if you’re prepared to do that to the person introducing you (the agency only ever finds out when they do introduce your details in the client says “Oh we received those details directly 20 minutes ago through our website. Why did that happen?” In those situations this will not then be a curated introduction, but a situation where somebody has displayed a tendency to be at least duplicitous if not untrustworthy. They are traits that organisations are reluctant to employ.

So think about that when you’re trying to be clever. In bugs the hell out of us, it affects your chances. Oh and we won’t deal with you again, so it removes you from our register.

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It is fascinating to read two articles, posted almost alongside each other, in AM-online this week. One, covering a survey by Auto Trader, suggests that it will be another nine years before most motorists seriously consider an electric vehicle. Uncertainties about charging points, infrastructure and range mean that for your average driver, electric is still a step into the unknown. And I can understand those feelings.
On the other hand, a different article based on a report by Leasing Options suggests that in just two years time, in 2020, the sale of electric vehicles will have outpaced the sale of diesels. Given that diesel sales have plummeted nearly 40% in the last year, one perhaps could be forgiven for thinking this was possible.
But is it? As it implies that diesel sales are going to continue to plummet and the slack will be taken up by petrol. This obviously presents the government with a problem, as petrol cars are notoriously worse at emitting CO2 than their diesel counterparts. It only shows that statistics can be made to prove almost anything, it depends what you want to say.
It also depends on how you phrase the question (which is why you never hold a referendum on anything important!) There is no doubt considerable anxiety about the electric vehicles’ ability to cover long distances, though the majority of drivers never drive more than 50 – 60 miles at a time in any case. Equally, if you extrapolate current falls in diesel sales, you will arrive at the conclusion that they’ll arrive at almost zero in 2 – 3 years time. I can confidently predict that will not happen. Some manufacturers are struggling to switch production to petrol cars, others have invested too much in diesel technology just to say goodbye to it overnight. The pricing of such vehicles will become increasingly attractive, even if the taxing of them would seem to go the other way. And like any market, a reaction to adversity is nearly always an overreaction. Diesel’s current plunge may well turn into a rally in 2020. New technology perhaps, new investment, new science and indeed a changing attitude.
As we approach 1 September, it is after all only a few hours away, then I can tell that many dealers are worried. WLTP concerns mean that many will struggle to hit their targets in the next couple of months, some are not expecting much supply before the end of October. And let us face it, with Europe doing rather better and the UK underperforming, we are probably not their biggest concern as a market at this moment, so we are being left to run our own devices. With car production falling 11% in July (against an 18% rise this time last year) things are not looking overpromising in any case. But until you get your vehicles tested and approved, there’s not much point in producing them in any case.
Have a good first of September, or as good as you can at any rate, so you can relax for the rest of the year.
And have a great weekend, autumn starts tomorrow. Let’s hope it is not followed by a winter of discontent.

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
Latest Jobs

Honesty is a good thing, but it is not profitable to its possessor unless it is kept under control.
Don Marquis (1878 – 1937)
Men live in a fantasy world. I know this because I am one, and I actually receive my mail there.
Scott Adams (1957 – )
Acquaintance, n.: A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914), The Devil’s Dictionary
Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person.
Ethel Mumford
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