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Wearing hot pants, not finding the Stan Chart tower – and other crazy reasons for flunking interviews in Asia

Job interview mistakes

Off to an interview

Unless you’re in the middle office or you offer a unique set of skills, finding a banking job in Singapore or Hong Kong isn’t entirely straight forward these days.

With this in mind you’d think candidates would be doing all they can to cut back on mistakes at job interviews.

Think again. Recruiters in Asia have been left flummoxed recently by job-seekers who’ve seemingly gone out of their way to flunk interviews at banks. Here’s a selection of the worst mistakes.

Can’t find the Stan Chart building

“A candidate messaged me once saying that he couldn’t find the interviewer’s building,” says a recruiter in Singapore who asked not to be named. “This was weird as it was the Standard Chartered building in the middle of Singapore. I told him to tell the taxi driver to take him straight there, but he headed home instead and replied ‘oh well it wasn’t meant to be’.”

Hot pants

“A young candidate turned up for an interview wearing hot pants,” says the Singapore recruiter. “She told the hiring manager that she was on her day off and she hoped he didn’t mind. Let’s just say she didn’t get a second interview.”

Are you single?

“I know of a case where a male candidate in Hong Kong asked the interviewer if she was single,” says Vince Natteri, director of search firm Pinpoint Asia. “That ended his chances of getting the job.”

Window shopping

Natteri adds: “Another Hong Kong candidate said he wasn’t looking to leave but was ‘just seeing what’s out there’. What he really meant was that he would move for the right job – but what he said came out wrong and the interviewer thought he wasn’t interested at all and was just window shopping.”

Too noisy

“One candidate in Singapore took a Skype interview in what they thought was a quiet location until the building work next door kicked off and the bank excluded them for being unprepared,” says Kyle Blockley, managing partner of recruitment firm KS Consulting.

Too high

“A candidate was interviewed on the 35th floor of a building in Singapore, in a corner office,” says Richard Aldridge, a director at recruitment company Black Swan in Singapore. “He got a case of vertigo, clammed right up and sweated profusely throughout the interview. A usually very chatty friendly guy just came across as weird.”

Won’t cut

“One banking tech candidate didn’t get a job because he wouldn’t cut his hair shorter or even wear a proper shirt and trousers to an interview – he said it was ‘against his personality’,” says Natteri.



Image credit: Wavebreak Media

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