Londoners are most likely to bluff their way through the London jobs interview process, according to new research by specialist recruiter Randstad.

Four in ten (42%) of Londoners polled consider themselves a ‘well-practised interviewee’ compared to an average of 27% across UK workers. This is the highest proportion of any region in the UK. London is home to twice as many confident interviewees than Yorkshire & Humber (21%), East Anglia (21%) and the North West (19%). Londoners are also far more confident than workers in the South East (27%).

Just 25% of Londoners report that ‘they used to be well practised but are now rusty’ – also lower than the UK average (32%). Only one in five (21%) Londoners say that they have never been any good at interviews, compared to an average of 26% across the UK. Some of these interviews take place in London's tempting recruitment sector.

Would you consider yourself a well-practised interviewee?

Percentage of employees answering “Yes” to the question

  • London: 42%
  • Scotland: 34%
  • North East: 32%
  • South West: 28%
  • South East: 27%
  • East Midlands: 27%
  • West Midlands: 27%
  • UK Average: 27%
  • Yorkshire & Humberside: 21%
  • East Anglia: 21%
  • Wales: 21%
  • North West: 19%
  • Northern Ireland: 6%

50% of Londoners regard interviews as tougher now than they were eight years ago before the recession took hold, compared to 41% of UK workers.

Mark Bull, CEO of Randstad UK, comments: “Londoners are more confident interviewees than workers in any other region of the UK. Part of this is a result of competition. The capital is a melting pot of the best national – and international – talent, and Londoners have to be confident to succeed. There is no space left for self-doubt; interviewees must believe they are the right candidate for the job.

“After a tough few years during the recession, the jobs market continues to improve, but interviews themselves are becoming more testing. Job hunters need to raise their game as a result: refining their interview technique to keep up with growing expectations.”

Londoners the least prepared for new job interviews

Despite being the most confident interviewees in the UK, Londoners are the most likely to enter an interview without adequate preparation – with the intention of ‘winging it’.

Over a quarter (27%) of Londoners cited inadequate preparation as the most common mistake made in an interview, compared to just 21% of UK workers. As a result, just under half (44%) of Londoners admitted that their mind had gone blank at interview, compared to 41% across the UK.

Rushing is another factor holding the capital’s workers back. A quarter (25%) of Londoners admitted to turning up late to an interview (compared to a UK average of 9%) and one fifth (20%) confessed they had arrived without an important document (compared to a UK average of 5%).

Mark Bull explains: “Being a confident interviewee is critical, but it shouldn’t lure interviewees into a false sense of security. Preparation is as vital as ever. If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail and that is never truer than in the interview scenario. Over a quarter of Londoners are still falling into the open trap of inadequate preparation, which unnecessarily ramps up the feeling of stress interviewees may feel – a common cause of mind-blanks and panicked answers.

"Attempting to ‘wing-it’ through an interview never works. It’s not enough to just assume your experience and previous knowledge will get you through, as even senior employees can be subject to such lapses, so it really is important to do your homework.”

“Londoners need to take a step back from their fast-paced lifestyles and pause for breath. Building in extra time to account for busy days and tube delays is a good idea, as is double-checking to make sure you have a copy of everything you need – including your CV.”

Room for improvement

Londoners were far more open to the idea of interview guidance than workers in the rest of the UK. When asked what would make them feel more comfortable in interviews, 46% of Londoners opted for more guidance on technical and competency questions, compared to just 28% of UK workers as a whole.

Additionally, 37% of Londoners would welcome more practice (compared to 29% across the UK), while 22% were keen to receive practical interview advice such as what to wear on the day (compared to 16% across the UK). But by far and away the most popular choice was a greater understanding of the organisation interviewing them (58%, compared to a UK average of 44%).

This is where recruiters can really add value to the job search process as they can give interviewees a far greater steer on the institution interrogating them than they can ascertain from their own research.

Mark Bull concludes: “Gaining as much ‘insider information’ as possible helps candidates to stand out from the crowd – and this is where specialist recruiters can help interviewees cut through the competition. Extra information like detailed job specifications shines a light on exactly the skills required for a particular role, helping candidates to show exactly where they will fit into an organisation. Further subtleties, like the ethos and atmosphere of the company, are hard to get a handle of through a simple internet search.

"Recruiters also help to take some of the stress out of the interviewing process by advising on practical issues like what to wear in today’s increasingly informal corporate cultures. The most successful candidates utilise all the sources available to them – and that includes the expertise of specialist recruiters.”