Workers in Manchester are some of the least confident in their interviewing ability, according to a survey carried out by specialist recruiter, Randstad.

The new research found that less one in five (19%) of employees in Manchester consider themselves “well-practised interviewees”, ranking as one of the least-confident cities across the country. Only in Belfast do fewer workers feel self-assured going into a selection process (6%), while London has more than double the number of confident candidates as Manchester. On average, 27% of UK workers deem themselves adept in interviews.

Another 23% of Manchester’s employees claim they have never been proficient in an interview scenario, while the overwhelming majority of Mancunian’s (34%) consider themselves “rusty” and out-of-practice, above the UK average of 32%.

Would you consider yourself a well-practised interviewee?

Percentage of employees answering “Yes” to the question

  • London: 42%
  • Edinburgh: 34%
  • Newcastle: 32%
  • Bristol: 28%
  • Brighton: 27%
  • Nottingham: 27%
  • Birmingham: 27%
  • UK Average: 27%
  • Leeds: 21%
  • Norwich: 21%
  • Cardiff: 21%
  • Manchester: 19%
  • Belfast: 6%

It may be that because of this pervasive lack in confidence, Mancunian’s do their homework more thoroughly than the typical UK interviewee. Only 17% of workers in the city conceded their preparation had been inadequate in the past, whereas the average across all UK workers was 21%. Over a quarter of those surveyed in London, Brighton and Cardiff admitted to making this blunder.

Victoria Short, managing director of Randstad Care, said: “With so much at stake, job interviews are formidable experiences for most people, but it is concerning that considerably fewer workers in Manchester go into interviews feeling confident than other places across the country. A lack of confidence in your interview skills can inhibit workers from pursuing different roles, going for that promotion and even landing their first position.

“It seems that feeling a bit shaky in their interview technique is giving workers in Manchester some added impetus to prepare more thoroughly than applicants in other parts of the UK.

"However, it is still astonishing how many people sell themselves short simply by failing to do the necessary research on the role and organisation they are applying for. In the digital age, with so much available at our fingertips online, there is no excuse to leave it to chance on the day, and preparing properly will always be time well spent.” 

Tougher tests – and fewer chances to shine

When asked to compare the difficulty of interviews now with those conducted before the recession, 42% of workers in Manchester felt they had got tougher. This is a slightly higher proportion than the UK average (41%). Only one in twenty (5%) of those polled felt they had become easier in the last eight years.

In addition, two-thirds (66%) of Manchester’s employees only had one interview before landing their current role. Considerably higher than the nationwide average of 57%, the city typically has the quickest interview processes of anywhere in the UK. This places extra pressure on Mancunians to make a good first impression, as there is less opportunity to make amends in a subsequent meeting. Only 15% of Mancunian’s had a second round of interviews to show that they were the best candidate for the job, below the UK average of 19%.

Victoria Short added: “The jobs market in Manchester is buzzing at the moment, with one of the UK's biggest retailers, B&M, becoming just the latest to announce plans to create 2,500 jobs in the region. Employers have to move fast and make quick decisions to ensure they snap up the best candidates. When fighting off competition from rival organisations, there simply isn’t time to invite applicants back for second or third round screenings.

"While this may be music to the ears of job hunters frustrated with drawn-out and tiring interview processes, the flipside is that most Mancunians are only getting one opportunity to shine. They need to throw everything they can at preparing for the initial interview as there may not be another chance to rectify mistakes, or to remedy that all-important first impression.” 

How many interviews did you go through before accepting your current/last job?

Percentage of employees answering "One"

  • Manchester: 66%
  • Nottingham: 64%
  • Newcastle: 64%
  • Brighton: 62%
  • Bristol: 62%
  • Leeds: 59%
  • Belfast: 58%
  • UK Average: 57%
  • Cardiff: 54%
  • Birmingham: 54%
  • Norwich: 53%
  • Edinburgh: 50%
  • London: 41%