From your application form / CV they know your career history, posts, responsibilities and achievements. They have enough to know it’s worth a follow up conversation. Having formed a view as to whether you have embellished your responsibilities or over stated your role in achievements what do you talk about? You want to tell them something interesting about yourself that they will remember and differentiate you from the others on their Long List of hopefuls. They want to learn something that will show the people that are paying them that they “know“ the candidate.
This is where that section on hobbies and interests that candidates mistakenly think is irrelevant and rather out dated comes into play. This short paragraph could be the bit that pushes your application over the line and gets you in front of the interview panel so don’t ignore it or dismiss it with,” supporting Liverpool Football club and going to the cinema”. OK so you may not be into scuba diving or piloting your own light aircraft and unless you support an exotic football team like Forfar Athletic FC and have an interesting story as to why I would steer clear of football. The exception being unless you are an amateur referee!
There is nothing wrong with saying you like to go to the cinema or your preference is a beach holiday to recharge your batteries. Just make it more interesting by saying your favourite Director is Spike Lee and his insights into race, crime and life in urban America or you particularly enjoy Si Fi films not so much StarWars as Blade Runner. As for holidays is their anything better than lying on the beach indulging in the guilty pleasure of reading detective novels by authors like Ian Rankin.
Just remember that the whole point is having something to talk about so whatever you mention make sure you can talk about it.
This is all part of the soft skills assessment. The recruitment consultants won’t put any one in front of the members interview panel who does not have the skills, knowledge ability and experience to do the job. The discussion about your C.V. will give a clear indication as to whether you’re up to the job now they need to decide whether members will like you. Members for their part assume the recruitment consultants have done the heavy lifting and what they need to decide is could they work with you. Some people refer to this as the ability to be charming others the ability to make small talk but if you are short listed the interview is likely to be a two day process involving a “ trial by sherry”. A lunch time or evening event where you are expected to balance a paper plate loaded with food from the buffet and a glass of something whilst circulating round the room shaking hands with the representative from the voluntary sector and partner agencies. So what are you going to talk about?
Blair Mcpherson former Director , author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk