Struggling to get past the first interview stage?

Struggling to get past the first interview stage?




Our research shows that only 1 out of 3 first stage interviews got to the 2nd stage. This obviously means that 2 out of 3 candidates, unfortunately, miss out on their dream role. Frustrating we know.

So what is happening to those candidates that aren’t getting to the second stage interviews?

Well, it could be that the client has simply met an outstanding candidate at the first stage or in hindsight it’s just not the role for you. But sometimes the outcome is disappointing and you might be left wondering if you could have done something different.  

But don’t worry, we’re here to help! As part of our process we always take detailed feedback from both candidates and clients which means we have plenty of information on what simple things can often go wrong:

Here’s what you can do to ensure you get to that crucial second stage interview.


  1. Prepare Prepare Prepare!

These days there’s no excuse for not doing your research beforehand. Make sure you’ve been through the company website, found about any recent client wins or new products the company might have launched. Also, make sure you know about the hiring manager. - check out their background on LinkedIn and see if you have any mutual contacts and/or similar interests. This always helps with the rapport and breaks the ice at the beginning of the meeting.


  1. Get there on time

Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview and plan to be there 30 mins in advance, you can always grab a coffee if you’re very early! Research shows the best time to turn up in reception is about 10 mins beforehand.

If you’re not quite sure where you’re going or how you’ll get there it's always worthwhile doing a trial run a couple of days before. But, of course, sometimes some things are out of your control – but if you do find out you’re running late just make sure you have the recruiters or the interviewers number handy so you can call ahead. Otherwise, if you just turn up late this can be a big red flag for employers! 


  1. Try not to be negative about previous employers

Most of us have had some bad experience at previous companies or with the odd previous colleague. Try and avoid saying “My boss was awful” “I hated the company” “The work was so boring.” Instead, try and find a positive reason for why you might be moving on.


  1. Engage appropriately

It goes without saying that you should be polite to everyone and even if you’re feeling nervous try and make sure you smile. No swearing! Seriously. We know this one should go without saying however we have had several candidates get turned away for effing and jeffing in an interview. Don’t do it, simple.


  1. Figure out the culture

Sometimes the client can think you're simply not the right culture fit for them. That basically means they don’t think you would fit in the team as well as someone else might. Find out from us what kind of culture it is before you go – we’ve more than likely met the team and then you can share some previous experiences that might be relevant.

Finally, if you need any advice on getting a new marketing role and specifically some help on how to handle those first stage interviews, then get in touch with us! 


Georgia graduated from The University of Huddersfield with a degree in Journalism and works in the Network Marketing team in Leeds as digital marketing executive. She has a passion for writing, so you’ll see lots of social media and blog posts from her! When she’s not at work you can usually find her with a pink gin and tonic in her hand or bopping around the Stone Roses Bar.

Julie's our go to person for all of the operations within the business, although that's not to say that she hasn't still got some great relationships with clients. She set up our creative recruitment business back in 2004 and has been leading operations ever since. Never one to shirk on buying a round at the bar, she'll more than likely be the last one standing.