We sometimes get candidates who we know should get the job but who fall down at the interview stage.

Quite often they are unused to interviewing and panic. Sometimes, while we know they can do their job, they are just not very good at getting it across to prospective employers. Sometimes they commit one of the cardinal sins of interviewing.

Whatever the reason, they have not performed. So to help all of our candidates, and anyone else who is interested, we have produced an interview guide. This will hopefully point you in the right direction. It should certainly stop you turning up late, looking scruffy or bad mouthing your old employer. It might just give you some ideas about better preparing and performing at interview.

You can find it here.  And before you go, this is not the only guide we produce. You might have seen our CV Guide here, and we are just putting the finishing touches to our Guide To Assessment Centres.

We’ll let you know when it is finished.

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Or rather, as an article I saw today put it, how do you treat your Silver Medallists?

Because actually this is probably the most important population for your career brand. People who are good enough to be considered in the final shortlist, interested enough in your company to turn up, but the you have to let down.

Many employers are terrible at this. Take feedback we had recently for a candidate – the client had promised to give them fairly detailed feedback after the assessment centre. This is an actual quote when we asked what feedback they had “I have spoken to the recruiting manager, could you tell him he wasn’t suitable for the position?”

The HR Director for one of my best clients, a manufacturer, used to get back to all candidates on the shortlist, and in fact any that he had interviewed at any stage of the process, and print a nice, but standard rejection letter. But at the bottom, on every single occasion, he wrote a personal note thanking them for their attendance, and hoping that he might see them again soon.

What do you do? Do you just abandon them, or do you get back to them quickly and let them know they haven’t been successful? Do you say that you are still interested in them and would love to be able to keep in touch in case something more suitable appears in the future? Because if that is genuinely how you feel, then that is the approach you should take.

Let’s face it, if they were good enough to get onto the shortlist they are probably good enough to be considered again. And if they’re that good then they are going to get listened to by others.

So treat them right. And keep in touch.

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  • Quote of the week

It is quite interesting, I love reading long-term plans by government. Because you are almost certain that whatever they plan today is going to get overtaken by events long before it has a chance to be completed. Take their latest Road to Zero plan. It plots the pathway to Zero emission vehicles, which it now wishes to complete by 2050. Bearing in mind we are meant to be in the vanguard of this technological change, that is quite a long way away. And it is clear that they have softened their stance and lengthened the implementation period because of strong lobbying from various interested industries. I strongly suspect that despite some laudable targets for zero emission vehicles by 2030 (about half of sales volumes will be zero emissions by that date) that the market will overtake whatever the government wishes long before then. And it honestly may not be in the direction that they suspect.
The arrival of Pres Trump, who landed in the UK this morning, reminds us that the world of international trade is in turmoil because of his intention to introduce tariffs to take away China’s advantage. Of course almost immediately Tesla have announced the opening of a brand-new factory in China, which could become its biggest market. And naturally none of those will now be produced in the US. Nowhere is the power of lobbying more obvious than in the President’s approach to global world trade, and there are some very powerful lobbies in the US. But most economists will tell you that the introduction of tariffs rarely improves a countries lot, nor does it have all of the intended consequences. It has to be said, the world’s novelty balloon manufacturers have clearly benefited in the short term.
For many years we have produced a number of guides, and recently we announced the launch of our new CV Guide, you can catch it here, and today we have updated and upgraded our Interview Guide. Fairly soon we will be publishing a brand-new, in-depth Assessment Centre Guide which will assist our candidates when faced with this particular challenge. The idea of each of these guides is not to give you an unfair advantage, but to make sure that you do not miss out on a role that you were probably perfectly suited for and should have got if you hadn’t committed one of the cardinal sins. I regularly cover these in our MTS Blog (subscribe to that here) but the biggest sins for interviewees are failing to prepare, turning up late and badmouthing previous employers. The ones that fall flat on their face sometimes managed to achieve all of these and several others besides.
Have a great weekend, the play-off for third and fourth place doesn’t quite have the same tension, does it? And no Roger in the final?

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

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
Mae West (1892 – 1980), Klondike Annie (1936 film)
The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.
Bruce Cockburn
What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)
The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.
Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876

Employers, what are you doing? You cannot automate everything. Talent management does not become a process. Talent is about people.

Take a look at this tweet I saw a couple of weeks ago daft recruitment, it is typical of the processes that there are out there today. Many of you employers don’t even have the good grace to reply to highly qualified candidates who have just spent 45 minutes filling out your application form and telling you about their career aspirations.

Football has every single statistic about performance going, and yet humans are still heavily involved in recruitment at every level. We all know that the fees gained by their agents are outrageous, but that is because they recognise the importance of human intervention.

And yet you all want to recruit the very best in the business, you tell me you do. But you rely on systems that look at people’s social media profiles, Twitter feeds and LinkedIn entries and make a judgement about them. You ask them a series of connected, difficult questions and reject those who don’t quite get it right.

You hold assessment centres two days before the end of March (yes it happens surprisingly often) and then exclude those sales managers who can’t make it. Would you want to recruit a sales manager who could make the end of March?

And then after that you give most of them no feedback, and if you offer them a job it takes two weeks often to get anything on paper (or email) down. Two weeks? At which point another, more switched on group has taken them out of the market. Would you let your sales team take 14 days to send out an order form?

It is time to get back to the human, I don’t care what science tells you about a better way of recruiting, you can use it as a useful aid, but do not use it as your main means of filtering.  You are so scared of making the wrong hire, you don’t make any. In footballing terms you are so scared of missing, you don’t shoot.

Apart from anything else, there are people out there who know how to play the game and they tend to attract the best people.

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Recruiters often have a big problem with candidates who are so desperate not to be misunderstood that all they want to do is explain everything.

This might be on their CV – my record is 23 pages and I have no idea what it said after the first two. 6 seconds to make an impression? 2 pages, 650 words maximum, enough said.

Or it might be in an interview. Any interviewer will know the sort, you asked the question “Tell me about your current role” and they start “Well, before I begin….”. You know you’re in trouble – they’re probably going to go back to nursery school, take you through their education, their difficult time at university before their first apprenticeship, their marriage, their kids and all the holidays they’ve had before they eventually get back to talking about where they are at the moment.

It is the fastest route to the exit door.  You have to be disciplined – if you are this sort of person then ask somebody else to listen to you. Get them to stop you every time you go off subject.

Those old enough to remember it, or who have plugged into Dave, might have watched the Two Ronnies – the whole point of Ronnie Corbett sitting in his Red Chair going off at tangents was that it was a comedy.  It was meant to be funny and a caricature.

But most of us are busy people, if we ask a question we would like a direct answer. So nowadays if somebody utters the dreaded words “Let me put it in context” I will stop them. I’m not interested in the context, otherwise I would have asked it myself.

We all get annoyed at politicians dodging the question, you’re not likely to get very far at interview if you do the same yourself.

And you are not going to get as many laughs as Ronnie.

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I can see everybody’s mind is elsewhere, focused on the football, the British Grand Prix or Wimbledon. So rather than look around for a roundup of news this week I thought it better to point you towards a couple of interesting items from the BBC itself. First of all an interview with Carlos Ghosn, looking at the future of the automotive industry and the way he sees it. He is head of the Alliance, the carmaker that includes Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi. Anyone who builds 10 million cars a year is not be ignored.
Not surprisingly he argues that the automotive industry must adapt and change or get bypassed itself. Read it in full, because here is a man whose job it is to study the future especially in our sector. Https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44662649
The other item is something from the past. A podcast presented by Peter Day. His voice is incredibly familiar, that clipped, BBC voice that many of  you will recognise from your childhood, it was first broadcast in 2003. It covers the future of electric vehicles, which looking back through the prism of history is fascinating, and the arrival of the automotive industry in China. He remembered visiting 10 years earlier where there was not a car around, just bikes. He describes how a country almost in one moment decided that bikes were old technology, cars were the future. If you have time, listen. It is a fascinating archive. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03jrkql
We are halfway through the year and it is fair to say it is not been sparkling in terms of performance, though for many slightly better than they first feared. Everybody knows that this is a quiet time of year, especially with all of the aforesaid sporting events going on – unless your old car dies you really not going to go out and buy new one. Having said that, I suspect most industry professionals are hoping against hope that England could win the World Cup. I can see now the number of commemorative editions being launched to a waiting public. I’m sure the marketing men are working on it as we read this.
Have a great weekend, especially tomorrow afternoon.

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 nobody spoke unless he had something to say, the human race would very soon lose the use of speech.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965), The Painted Veil, 1925
When everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody.
W. S. Gilbert (1836 – 1911)
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
John Lennon (1940 – 1980), “Beautiful Boy”
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
e e cummings (1894 – 1962)

A new report from the Boston Consulting Group and online recruitment company The Network lists the top 10 countries that everybody wants to work in.

The good news for the UK is that despite Brexit we are still in the top five. This was quite a wide-ranging poll with over 350,000 people questioned across nearly 200 countries, so I guess it reflects the wishes of the wider world.

However, before we pat ourselves on the back too much, you should note that since 2014 the UK has dropped from 2nd to 5th, while Germany has moved the other way. The top five countries are

  • The United States
  • Germany
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • The UK

So we are still almost the top destination in Europe. Well Germany has overtaken, but even if you don’t enjoy working here, be assured that most of the rest of the world would do.

I received a telephone call yesterday. It was a cold call but it was unusual, it did not go the normal way. We get targeted continually by telecoms, investment companies and the like. So on most occasions I just politely say that I don’t buy over the phone and put the phone down,

But something about this call made me stop. It was immediately clear that they had studied my website. They had looked at my LinkedIn profile and they had identified people who were common connections between us. So they were able to use names that I knew, companies that I dealt with and so I listened. In the end I did not end up buying, but I listened.

It tells me that a properly researched approach to a company will always succeed better than a “Dear Sir, I would really like to join your company/organisation as I have the perfect background. Yours faithfully” type of approach. If you research the company properly, look for the hooks that will make them stop and think then you have a good chance of them listening. Once they listen, you have a better chance than the next person getting a meeting.

The recruitment market is a competitive one, you need to get the edge if you’re going to be noticed.


  • This week
  • This week’s jobs
  • Quote of the week

As we get to the half way point in the year, many dealers and manufacturers will be reviewing what they’re doing. They will be reflecting upon how hard the market has become and perhaps looking at their investments in real estate in deciding whether or not it was money well spent. And an article I read today in car dealer Magazine by James Baggott chimed with a number of conversations I had had at the IMI’s network conferencing event the previous week. You may recall I was talking about talent acquisition, but it was really a conference about how fast the industry is changing. And a subscription model for car ownership was mentioned in passing.
Well James expanded substantially up on that idea, as it is currently being trialled quite successfully in the States. Essentially, for about £800 a month (quite an investment) consumers can have access to pretty well the whole of the Mercedes range. Assuming it operates on some sort of points basis, with 24 hours notice you can dial up pretty well any vehicle you want. And I am sure that there are all sorts of flavour of subscription, so for those working in London and only needing a car at the weekends they might have very different needs to those living in the country, needing a vehicle every day to go to work, but wanting a big people carrier for two days when they’re not at work. The model is an interesting one, and, as James argues, for Generation Rent not really a leap of faith. In amused me, because he was referred back to Blockbuster Video, and how we used to pop down and see if the Disc you wanted was in stock. When I can remember when they offered me a choice of Betamax or VHS. And that is probably only 30 years ago.
The really big questions are going to be answered over the next 24 months, because the more you talk to manufacturers and the more you talk to group managing directors you realise that pop-up stores on the high street, in shopping centres and even in big supermarkets could become the norm. And a generation that is used to ordering everything on Amazon or eBay is not really going to see the point of travelling too far to test drive a car. Especially if it’s on a subscription basis, just send it back if you don’t like the way it drives. Everything is surely on 14 days return?
Have a great weekend – you can relax, England don’t play until next week when Wimbledon starts as 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

The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I’ll never be as good as a wall.
Mitch Hedberg (1968 – 2005)
If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work.
William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “King Henry IV Part I”
The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.
P. G. Wodehouse (1881 – 1975)
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.
George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950

Apparently this is the most feared question in interviews, and features in more Internet searches than any other interview question.

And it’s surprising really, because if you think about it it is the one question that you should know all the answers to. But then most candidates are worried about how they express themselves and how they present themselves in the best possible light.

Well here’s my first tip, don’t talk about yourself, talk about the things you’ve done and achieved, the things that you are most proud of. And give due prominence to the most recent events. It is absolutely fantastic that you got the best A-level results in the country, but if that was 40 years ago I don’t think it is going to impress many employers.

On the other hand, if you have taken your current dealership from bottom of the manufacturers league to into the top 10 in the last two years they may well sit up and listen. If you just tell them you are an inspirational leader they probably won’t take your word for it and ask for some more proof. Achievements, figures, objectively measured results are what matter.

The key thing is to expect this question, it will get asked at least 50% of the time in interviews. Prepare and practice your answer and you will be rarely under pressure when you answer it.

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