Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Help the Headhunters to Help You

Hello again

It seems like the most widespread effect of the recession is to find yourself stuck. You may be stuck in a house that you own, a flat that you rent or you may be stuck on “staycation.” Today we are looking at people stuck in a job that they want to leave.

Is this you? In these times of lower job security you need to be working to the best of your ability and won't want to get caught hunting for a new position. That makes you what we in the industry call a “passive” job seeker. What’s your strategy?

The passive job seeker’s message to the market is “I’m good, this is what I do and here’s where you can find me” and that needs to be communicated consistently through different channels. Let’s look at some different aspects of that.

Before we talk details let’s make one thing clear. If you’re relying on other people to help you make a move you’d better make sure that you’re someone they will want to help. A head-hunter wants to get the fee for placing the best person but remember that the best person is easy to get on with; someone who deals with partners and directors with the same ease they deal with associates, clients and recruitment consultants.

Headhunters spend a lot of their time speaking to people in your industry. If you are doing conspicuously good work and treating people well you will be on the radar. If you have taken the time to network with your peers the signal will come through much more strongly. Another way to become more visible is by writing an industry blog to demonstrate your expertise; maybe you could do this officially for your firm. This will help you to appear in google searches.

If you’re in a senior position you may consider higher level profile work. That might mean speaking at industry events or talking regularly to journalists. If your industry has a directory like Chambers and Partners for law or Accountancy Age do what you can to get listed. Take the calls and complete the questionnaires. It may seem trivial and you can outwardly treat it as that but don’t underestimate the value. Professional associations, official or otherwise, are worth joining. Think about where people seeking talent in your industry will look and make sure you’re there.

The researchers and resourcers of the recruitment industry may look for names first and then look for detail to complete their dossiers. They may go straight to places they know they will find the detail, especially for less senior roles. This includes searching CVs on recruitment websites like Jobsite, CWJobs, Jobserve and Monster and perusing profiles on LinkedIn. These sites can be used anonymously whilst still allowing headhunters to find you. Make sure to mention the key attributes that single you out. Use the key words that describe your dream job in your online profile. Take the time to complete as many fields as possible so that targeted searches locate you.

Maybe the most important thing is to form long term relationships with recruitment consultants that you trust. Treat these relationships professionally and keep them two way. This may involve helping other people before you help yourself but no harm will come of it. Avoid the temptation to phone your recruitment contacts repeatedly, their activity is driven by employer vacancies, not available staff. Your aim is to be the first person the consultant wants to talk to when your dream role comes up so don’t put them in a difficult position before that.

Doesn’t sound so hard does it? The market is starting to get more dynamic so believe in yourself, put your brand in the public domain and make sure people can find you. You could find yourself making an exciting move in the new year.
In the mean time we wish you and your families a wonderful festive season from all at Picture More!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Managerial Roles

Hello again, how are you?

Are you an unemployed manager?

You might have put in more than 10 years of loyal service and performed well that whole time. You may have moved into a new management position only to see it disappear soon after you arrived. Now, for the first time, you’re trying to find your next role without the security of being currently employed. It’s a tough new situation and it doesn’t feel fair. Scary isn’t it?

Now that sounds gloomy but you’re not alone and you’re not on the scrap heap. Picture More deal with managers all the time. We find them, we manage their career progression and we get them back into work. The roles are out there and, as James Caan says in The Telegraph, experience counts. You are still a valuable asset and if you tenaciously seek employment you will find it.

As a talented and experienced manager you are also clever enough to know how to market yourself. You’ll tweak your CV each time you apply for a role. You’ll research the company to get a feel for their values. You’ll analyse the job description and make sure your CV highlights how you have demonstrated all the relevant requirements. You’ll look at it from the recruiting manager’s point of view.

When it comes to the CV don’t feel you have to include everything. Recruiting agencies will look at your most recent position first and then work back through your last ten years of experience. They won’t be so interested in your ‘O’ Level grades or your first job unless it was something hugely impressive. If you try and stay down to 2 or 3 sides of A4 starting with the most relevant information first the company can always ask about the rest if it wants to.

You’re a good networker, even if you don’t realise it. Don’t sit at home waiting for the phone to ring. Make sure you talk to people. Form relationships with a handful of recruiters you trust. Go to industry events. Commentate on industry developments online and make sure people know you are available. Networking is the route to topping people’s lists and getting a shot at the vacancies which aren’t advertised yet.

Other things to think about: your talents are transferrable and this is an opportunity to do something new. If you rush straight back in to an identical job this chance may never come around again. If you do decide to change tracks you may have to take a lower salary than you previously enjoyed but you have an established market value so be prepared to get this across.

We wouldn’t advise applying for more junior roles in your current area of expertise. HR professionals are well aware of the pitfalls of this for you and your new employer and it isn’t a dynamic that works. If you are staying in the same industry you need to pitch at the same level. You’re worth it!

Picture More hope you enjoy our blog and find it useful. We’d love to hear your feedback, alternatively, we have been nominated for Best UK Recruitment Blog of 2009 so we’d be delighted if you show you’re appreciating if you follow the link and vote for us.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Hammer Time! New Job Skills

Hello Again
Have you ever heard this? “If the only tool you have is a hammer you tend to see every problem as a nail” That came from Abraham Maslow a famous humanist psychologist of the 20th century.

What’s your hammer? It may be MS Excel, it may be project management, it maybe a web design package, Object Oriented code, a telephone call, a statistical calculation, a motivational may of course be a hammer but we don’t see so much of that in professional services recruitment.
Different Perspectives

There are various problems in the business space and they need to be solved in different ways. The solutions need to be communicated to people with disparate views of the world. Some people want a solution presented in minute detail and some want the big picture. Some want to stick to the facts some need an analogy. Some want it explained in terms of a diagram and some in terms of numbers. Some want it answered in terms of people and emotions and some in terms of bottom line. Most managers want it answered yesterday!

I was at Henley Business School this weekend studying for my MBA and I saw how a group of 60 hugely intelligent people put up their own filters of experience, expertise and context when answering a single question and understood it in 60 different ways.

So how does this discussion help your job search? How does it affect your career development?
Different Audiences

In modern business we need to think about different ways of seeing the world and understand the different key drivers people have. When someone is looking for a new Business Analyst or Software Developer they aren’t just looking for that core skill. They want to make sure your culture and personality is a good fit, that you are likely to stick around, respect your colleagues and that you are someone they can work with. They want to see that you can empathise and handle different stakeholders and that you can understand what people really mean or are really thinking. Can you see things from the point of view of a banker, an HR manager, an accountant, a marketing manager or a salesman? You may have spotted that most interviews feature more than one of these people...
Expand Your Toolkit

So what I’m trying to say is if you’re going to do some self development work, don’t add to your hammer with another hammer. Why not add some different items to your toolkit of skills? Maybe you’d consider a foundation qualification in HR, or marketing or accounts. You may be surprised at the difference it makes to your effectiveness, your understanding and to your career.

I hope you found this interesting. We’ll probably talk about something simpler next time.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Trust is the New Green

I wonder if this phrase will grow in popularity. It was respectfully plagiarised by Thomas Brown at a CIM seminar I attended last week and appears to originate from Graham Sadd. It resonates in the current climate where trust in various institutions has, rightly or wrongly, been eroded. In this post credit crunch age the successful new entrants to various market places will be those who join the battle with a shiny lustre of trustworthiness.

Trustworthy Brands
Recently we’ve seen Tesco move into banking. Some consumers would never have considered moving from their high street banks before but now the lure of accessibility and savings isn’t hindered by the once comforting authority of the traditional banking brands. Tesco has as much right to consumer trust as many of the banks and, like the other supermarkets, has helped those consumers save money in the hard times.

Trust is what enabled toothpaste manufacturers to move into making toothbrushes. If you think about it in terms of design and manufacturing processes this is a big departure but that history of dental protection helps us make the leap of faith...

...and then there are Land Rover mountain bikes, Duracell torches, Caterpillar boots...

Trustworthy Recruiters
There are always plenty of players in the recruitment market. Some are corporate and some are small specialists. Who are the ones who will come through this downturn strongly?
The ones who:

· Listen to clients and candidates and remember what is important to them.

· Call when they say they will and give feedback even if the news isn’t good.

· Specialise in getting things right and believe in long term relationships.

· Go the extra mile and stay professional when times are tough.

Yes, it’s all about trust, well that’s what we think anyway. Every industry has its own issues but trust has to be right up there just now.

Here’s another phrase to ponder: “Recession is the mother of innovation” – I’ll credit that one to Ian Smith, former Senior VP Europe for Oracle who spoke at the CW Jobs seminar in July this year. There is a history of successful companies being born in times of economic downturn because that’s when growth can only be based on a genuine value proposition coupled with excellent service. In most cases this has been backed up with an innovative marketing campaign or way of doing business.

Could it be that this logic applies at the individual level?

Personal Branding
Yes. The people who understand the unique value they can bring to an organisation and are innovative enough to find new ways of communicating that message will eventually prosper provided they have the soft skills to engender the trust that is so vital in today’s market. That may mean applying for a new role at your current employer, starting your own company, publicising yourself through social media, creating a blog or a website or standing on a column in Trafalgar Square. So what are you going to do? The great thing about innovation is that there are no limits.

See you for more soon!

PS. Despite the title of this week’s blog Picture More feel that acting environmentally reflects the kind of responsible attitude that gains trust rather than being something we have moved on from!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Online Job Boards

Hello again, how are you this week? As promised, this time we are looking at online job boards.

How Recruiters Work

Picture More have had a lot of candidates to search for recently and we look in many places. It maybe in our mobile phones, on our database or in Linkedin; we advertise and we get referrals but one of the key places any recruiter will look is on the job boards. Companies like Picture More pay to access these sites as it gives us a great source of immediately searchable CVs.

Candidate Search

We always tell our candidates where we found them but how do you make sure you get found? It’s not rocket science. Putting a good CV together is essential but what about the job board profile? Please don’t ignore it, when recruiters search the boards these profiles are the first place they look. It’s also the first place the job board’s search engine looks. Some recruiters can be unsophisticated in their searching techniques so help them to help you. The more detail the better. Here are some of the headings:

Please include...

Preferred location: If you put RG12 you are limiting yourself. If a recruiter does a specific search you stay invisible. Sites like jobsite and monster feature a “within x miles” function but give yourself the best chance. Putting RG12 (no offence to Bracknell) makes you look inflexible. Put one or more location names.

Job Type: It’s hard to move from contract to permanent roles in the current market. If you do want to make that switch you need to have a convincing reason why.

Main Skills: If you are a Marketing Manager don’t put Powerpoint and Excel as your skills. Put marketing, branding, e-commerce, B2B, B2C, direct marketing or whatever you see fit, but keep it relevant, not peripheral. If you are a developer put your main languages. Try and avoid unnecessary abbreviations. If you’re a Business Analyst take the extra half second to type that instead of BA. (If you are an Object Oriented Programmer it would be best not to abbreviate it to “POO” like one recent candidate did).

Job Title: Nobody’s going to search for something generic like Associate Director or IT Professional. Make sure the title describes the role you want. It’s a wise move to enter several different titles here e.g. Web Developer, Web Programmer, Software Developer, .net Developer, Solutions Developer etc. Many recruiters will only look for one title at a time.

Availability: Try to keep this one current. If you put your CV online in May with redundancy looming 3 months down the line you may get missed in August when someone needs an immediate starter.

Salary range: A recruiter will be searching on this field so put something sensible in. Some boards let you put in a wide range like £35-90k, this is not a good idea as it’s hard for the recruiter to work out what level you are really at and it will probably put them off. If you are in work start the range from just below your current salary to 15% above it. If you’ve been out of work for a while you can use the same system but it will hard to negotiate a better salary than you had in your last role.

Be Contactable

· If you hide your name you’ll have to be brilliant to get called.

· If you hide or omit your phone numbers you won’t get called anyway.

If you miss a call and your CV looks great the recruiter may choose to email you. Your address is probably on the CV but put it in the profile too, maybe a private address that you can view at your leisure.

"See CV" - the wrong approach

When you go for a second interview you’ll sometimes be asked to fill out a profile form in reception. Would you ever think it was a good idea to write “See CV” in one of the boxes? No you wouldn’t, because it would look unhelpful, inflexible and lazy. I know it’s a pain to be asked for the same information more than once but please try and avoid doing this on the job board profile because not only will it have that same effect but you won’t come up in so many searches either.

Be Prepared to Talk

I think that covers the main problem areas for people who want to be found. When we call some people it seems like being found is the last thing they wanted. If you leave your CV on line you may get called. Please take it as a compliment and be polite; you may need this person’s help in the future!

I hope that helps. See you again soon!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Meet the Picture More Recruitment Blogger

Hello all.

Well there’s no job seeking advice this week but there has certainly been a lot of activity going on over the last 2 weeks. There is a clear increase in the number of career opportunities and we hope that this trend will accelerate in September. Well done to our successful candidates!

For a lighter topic I thought it might be time to reveal myself as the Picture More blogger. In future we’ll profile other members of the team and there will be guest bloggers but for now here’s me:

Name: Martin Naylor

Age: 39

Marital status: Happily married to Sarah, a Kiwi lawyer, for 8 months

Previous industries: Corporate banking, Materials Handling, Insurance, Pharmaceuticals (I was also a DJ!).

Education: BA Honours in European Business from Nottingham Business School, a Chartered Marketer with the CIM and excited about starting the Henley MBA this month.

Foreign languages: Fluent French and reasonable Italian

Why recruitment? It’s a really positive time to get involved in rebuilding the economy and I believe we need to get the most talented people back into the key jobs to achieve that. So not only does this role allow me to practise my marketing and relationship management skills but I get to help the country by helping one person at a time; cheesy but true!

Specialist areas: Picture More has excellent credentials for recruiting IT professionals and executives. I am looking more specifically at Business Development Directors, Marketing Professionals, E-commerce experts and senior Business Analysts and Project Managers. My industry focus will be most heavily on professional services and any sector with major e-commerce activity.

Sporting achievements: Very limited but ran the California International Marathon in 4 hours 27 in 2004 and swam 50km for the British Heart Foundation during the month of November 1999.

Other interests: Skiing, marketing, mountain biking, quizzes, cricket, cooking and wine tasting.

Best holidays: The American road trips, the Peruvian trek and meeting my wife to be in Australia.

Heroes: Leonardo da Vinci, Andrew Flintoff, Clint Eastwood and Usain Bolt.

So there it is; a brief summary about me. Next time we’ll have a look at how to manage your presence on online job boards.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Get the Job You Deserve

Hello again.

Pace Setter

Did you see Usain Bolt this week? He’s come from nowhere to dominate world sprinting! Well actually he hasn’t, he’s been well known to most pundits for 9 or 10 years and he’s been training very hard and improving all the way.

This week we’re talking about preparation: Interview Preparation.

We are sending some excellent IT candidates and marketing professionals off for interviews this week and many of them have had doubts and questions. There are some great tips on our website but we want to give you access to extra information that will really help you to be the best you can be. Remember, the best candidate doesn’t always succeed: the best interviewee does.

4 Key Areas

Let’s look at 4 areas to help you arrive feeling ready to dazzle:

· Make sure you’re going for a job you really want
· Treat every conversation in your search like an interview
· Be ready for any question
· Practise!


If you’re not going for a job you really want the chances are you won’t get it. You may feel under less pressure because the stakes aren’t so high but the lack of enthusiasm is likely to come through. If you’re suffering from a passion gap then How to Get a Job You’ll Love is a great guide to help identify what gets you enthusiastic.


Once you’ve found that source of enthusiasm then start communicating it. In all your networking activities and conversations with friends make sure they know what you want to do. Treat anyone new, who may be able to help you, with the respect you would reserve for an interviewer, even if they called you first. You need people on your side.

Standard Answers

There is a relatively standard list of about 200 interview questions, including ice-breakers, toughies and competency-based. As part of your ongoing career development strategy you can prepare stock answers to these questions that can be upgraded as required. If that sounds a bit extreme imagine asking one of the business leaders on Dragons’ Den about the value they can bring to your organisation. You’d get a concise, convincing answer wouldn’t you? You too should be prepared.


A guide to the list is featured in Job Interview: top answers to tough questions. If you haven’t got time to find that you could look at this no nonsense HR site, it’s a bit daunting but if you have a strong answer for all the relevant questions you can only do well. The only questions that change dramatically each time are the ones about the recruiting organisation; you have to be up to speed on that. Do your research, no excuses!


The final tip is to practise. Practise your prepared answers with a friend or relative, you can add polish so quickly this way. You may be expecting a verbal or mathematical reasoning test; practise that too! Here’s an online site where you can practise for free.

Other than that just do everything you can you make sure you turn up on time looking, feeling, smelling and sounding confident and enthusiastic. You’re ready; it’s all about you, so enjoy it.

Good luck!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Engage, Transform, Energise!

Hello again, I hope you are well.

Personal Interests

Do you remember back in blog 1 when we talked about your CV having at least 3 personal interests which aren’t work related but do include:

· Evidence of teamwork
· Something eye-catching
· Something you really enjoy and can enthuse about

Mr X

Well this week I met a contact, let’s call him “Mr X”, with the following personal interests:
Regularly enjoy sailing, skiing, singing and reading. Ran the London Marathon and sailed in the Fastnet race. Public Relations Officer for Oxford Harmony. Played rugby for Leicester Tigers, Richmond and Henley.

The Message

It’s got it all! If you know this person you’ll recognize him from this. If you don’t know this person what would you expect? Someone who looks after themselves and is confident and outgoing? An enthusiastic team player who is ready to help others and push themselves to the limit whilst still having fun? Well you’d be right. He sounds quite employable doesn’t he?

I asked Mr X about the Fastnet race and got an entertaining answer. Based on his time on the yacht he came up with a new management concept: Engage, Transform, Energise.

First I got everyone to buy in to me by doing all the horrible jobs – Engage

When that spirit of trust was built up people took notice of me and I could lead by example – Transform

Once that started to happen my enthusiasm became infectious and the team became energized, I know that because they told me! – Energise.

I wanted to put this on the blog because I too got energized by Mr X and felt there was something here worth sharing.

Set an Example

Firstly this story underlines my advice to have that rounded package of personal interests, not just on the CV but in your life. Having a positive message tied to those activities is the icing on the cake.

Secondly it’s worth thinking about times when we can implement Mr X’s very transferable idea. Skipping the steps will lead to resistance. When could you use this model?

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

How I got the Job

Have these blogs been a bit lengthy for you? We’ve had some feedback to suggest they were, so this time we’ll try and be punchier, which will leave us more time for getting people placed...and predicting football scores

That last line may look slightly “off topic” but it’s part of a serious point. Whilst seeking inspiration for a softer blog theme we typed “how I got the job” into google and came up with this link that we posted on our twitter feed at the weekend.

It’s American and very marketing focused but don’t be put off if that’s not your country or industry, Ann Handley’s advice is great. There are 4 key courses of action to help you find a job you’ll love:

· Google yourself to check your online profile
· Reach out online
· Make meaningful personal contact
· Forget networking > Start providing value

The first point is simple. Increase the professionalism of your online profile. Edit any inappropriate content from social networking sites and generally increase your marketable presence.

Second, reach out for advice online and keep all communication channels open.

Third, make personal contact with industry players and strategically manage any posts you’re making…

…and fourth. Now we don’t really want you to forget networking but you do need to remember it’s a two way street and that’s what leads to “providing value”. Answer people’s questions, share useful tweets or posts and support people’s projects. Helpful, collaborative people are more likely to be helped.

On that note, thank you so much to our first few followers for signing up. The website still says one but we know you’re out there! We don’t want to overload you with links but Predict the Score is great fun and here are a couple of well followed twitter feeds that our contacts are running to show what can be achieved: posts marketing product manager roles and is just generally fun and informative.

What could you do?

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The State of Play

First: Contacts

At Picture More we understand the importance of strong business relationships for long term success in this industry. We have a large network of professionals that we have known for years; many of these are now personal acquaintances as well as business partners. This is essential for us and, as we suggested in the last blog, good practice for any ambitious professional aiming to advance their career. A lot of our longest standing contacts are in IT related disciplines but we also have a rapidly growing marketing and sales network due to our new division that specialises in those areas. No matter which contacts we talk to we are always asked what trends we have noticed in the employment market. As the media continues to talk of “green shoots” of recovery we’d like to use this week’s blog to give our opinion.

Prospects for Growth

On a day to day basis our view of the market is framed by our activity with clients. From this comparatively narrow perspective the news is good and as we have clients in many different sectors it’s certainly a positive indicator. Some organisations that had become dormant from a recruitment point of view have become active again and we have seen some senior roles come in. Importantly, the contracting market is also opening up. Looking at the market beyond the frontier of our client base the last year has been pretty bleak and there have been consistent month on month falls in advertised positions. Depending which source you looked at, the number of new IT roles fell by 60-70% and sales and marketing roles fell by more than half. The good news is that this trend seems to have levelled out now and the numbers are even starting to climb gently in certain sectors.

Recruitment "Bounce"

We had felt that this bounce would have to come soon and improving performance from banks, mining stocks and house builders may boost confidence enough to spark a recovery in recruitment. Many companies have imposed recruitment freezes, removed all contractors and made heavy cuts in IT and marketing staff. In some cases it is felt that these cuts went too far and there will need to be a mini recruitment drive to redress the balance. At the same time we have seen other companies that haven’t cut back so far and are actually using this relatively quiet time to look at their infrastructure and systems architecture. All this requires specific expertise which brings us back into play.

Another trend that arises out of this climate is a push for exact fit. Companies justifiably feel they are in a market where they can hold out for the “perfect” candidate. Professional consultancies like Picture More will always strive to find perfect matches anyway but the bar is clearly being raised.


So how should our candidates feel and what should they do? Feel positive! No-one was immune from redundancy or pay freezes over the last few months. Manage your CVs and on-line profiles to include an increased level of detail of relevant, recent experience. Make sure to mention anything that differentiates you, including prestigious former employers. Think strategically about the positions you want to find and make sure to package profiles accordingly. Realistically that is going to mean doing some in depth research on prospective employers. It’s a tough market but when the going gets tough....

Monday, 27 July 2009

First Post


Hello and welcome to the Picture More blog. On this page we’ll be providing a mixture of content including industry trends, a flavour of what’s happening in our office and advice for candidates and recruiting organisations. If you’re looking for our latest roles please look at the job board at you can also pick them up via the RSS link on the site.

On this inaugural blog we’d like to start with some good news and look at the lessons that can be learned from the story.

Good News

This week Picture More placed a candidate into a Head of Architecture role with a major professional services organisation where he will have a genuine opportunity to shape the global business. “Lucky him!” you might be thinking, we think the recruiting company has done well too. Well we all make our own luck, so what did our candidate and his new employer do right?

Get Recruited

The candidate did well at school and took maths at university before starting his career in a programming role. His career has slowly moved focus from pure technology to team leadership to stakeholder management to strategic business management. His CV shows a clear progression and covers the areas the employer was looking for. It demonstrates the right expertise, experience and skills with concise examples and fits 22 working years neatly inside 3 pages.
Graduates in tough disciplines like science and maths will always stand out to recruiting organisations.

Well Rounded Package

Unfortunately we can’t change the past so what can be done to bolster a CV in terms of qualifications and skills? Our candidate wrapped layers of people management, influencing skills and business knowhow around his core strength of technology. These days technologists need to be business savvy and have developed people skills even in the early stages of their careers, make sure to highlight these in your CV. Backing up experience with qualifications in management, marketing, accounting or even HR can help a candidate demonstrate that he or she is developing a more rounded package for future employers.

Network for Success

Our candidate did something very simple that helped him stand out. He developed a network and wasn’t afraid to let that network know he was looking for a new role. He was referred to Picture More by a friend of his who we had spoken to following a Linkedin search. A referral of this kind is a very powerful catalyst to getting a new job. A solid network, including peers, colleagues and at least one trusted, professional recruitment consultant is well worth maintaining, even in the good times.


What did the recruiting company get right? They took the time to build a relationship with a specialist recruitment agency who has taken the time to build a clear understanding of what is functionally and culturally required. They have made their job specs clear and detailed and have highlighted the skills which are essential and those which are “nice to have.” They gave us the time to locate the right people and gave us swift feedback on the people we submitted.


Any other points to look out for? Well our candidate listed hobbies including wine tasting, rugby and hill walking. He avoided the temptation to make all of his hobbies mirror his career. Employers are looking for rounded, multi-dimensional candidates who have a life outside their work so why not put down one hobby which involves teamwork, one that stands out as more interesting and one more that you genuinely enjoy. Make sure they’re all for real though, it would be a shame to blow the interview by floundering on a question about your invented pastimes!