With the recent run up to the Oscars and the winners finally announced last Sunday, there was a definite buzz of ‘were they or weren’t they’ worthy winners.

When the world is watching and the pressure is on, how is it that all the hard work invested in your career feels like it can be pushed into the dark based on your ‘performance’ on Oscar night ? And how that performance can project you further into the limelight or make you a laughing stock. Who can forget Angelina Jolie’s leg from last year.

When everything seems so deliberate and pre-planned but all comes unravelling very quickly – perhaps for wearing ‘the wrong outfit’, (how could we forget Bjork in that swan dress) or for saying too much (aka Gwyneth Paltrows’ acceptance speech for Shakespeare in Love) – could all of your hard work be waylaid because of one evening?   

This year the baton was passed to Jennifer Lawrence who unfortunately fell on the steps to collect her Oscar for best actress for Silver Linings Playbook. Telling the crowd they were just applauding because she had tripped, showing a very human side to her, proved that no amount of preparation and staging can prepare for glitches on the day. Simply, accidents happen. However, it’s the recovery in any given situation that provides an opportunity to impress.

We have all had an experience in an interview where it is a simple case of saying the wrong thing or saying something the wrong way. Having being mis-interpreted can very quickly change the outcome and detract from your actual experience and credibility. Even down to wearing the right outfit can dictate the result.  As they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression.

I ask my candidates following an interview, if there is anything they should have said, could have said better or regretted saying. This gives us an opportunity to address any possible concerns prior to a decision being made.  Reference Jennifer Lawrence again, who after stumbling up the steps to accept her Oscar, also forgot to thank Harvey Weinstein, the Silver Linings Playbook executive producer, and Film Director,  David O Russell – a massive faux pas in the eyes of ‘The Academy’.  The following day, Jennifer appended her speech with a candid press release, referring to her forgetfulness as a ‘brain fart’ and that she couldn’t remember what she had already said and her mind went completely blank—your brain does funny things during the most overwhelming moment of your life!’

Sometimes no matter how much you prepare, mistakes can happen on the day but it’s about  how you pick yourself up and dust yourself off.

Noreen Curtin is Associate Director of our Manchester office and now avoids wearing long dresses when there are steps involved.

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