I was listening to the Get Good Grades podcast cast last week.

But what ares the general recommendations for interviewees who didn't get good grades?





jnuttall's picture

I would suggest the following: 1. Be prepared with other evidence of strong performance that will override or mitigate your grades. Demonstrated success on a recent job trumps grades. 2. Lacking on the job evidence, be prepared to find alternate paths to employment that lower risk for the hiring manager. For example: contract-to-perm. 3. You may need to rely more on credible references to lower the risk of hiring you in the hiring manager's eyes. In other words, use your network to find something where the hiring manager is only one or two friends separated on LinkedIn.

abshhkc's picture

Thanks for the feedback.

I'm not so proud of my undergraduate results. Although I'd like to think that I have mitigated that by having completed an MPhil,  been awarded an MBA scholarship, plus a respectable career track record, in the back of my mind, I'm uncertain as to whether I should be up front about my low grades.

At the moment, my CV just says "BSc Hons" with no grades.

So far nobody has asked me what grades I got in my interviews and it has gotten me into 3 if of the UK's top MBA schools. Should i continue to keep my grades discreet? My current employer never asked what grades I got. In fact, the hiring manager just assumed that I had respectable grades based on my CV. I know that because he told me!


flexiblefine's picture

You mention having a Master's degree, getting into top MBA schools, and having a current employer -- how old are these bad grades?

After a while, the grades don't matter anymore. You have experience to demonstrate how well you do things, rather than grades.

I posted a question in the Interviews section about failing out of college, and my comment at the end sums it up pretty well: spend time on positives, not on playing defense.

Houston, Texas, USA
DiSC: 1476

abshhkc's picture

The bad grades were from 1996. so quite a while ago


flexiblefine's picture

After 15 years, I doubt anyone would specifically ask about grades. Your work experience and more recent degrees are more relevant to a new situation.

Even so, you might want to have some kind of answer ready if it does come up in an interview. My "Tell Me About Yourself" answer (see that other thread) includes a mention that I didn't finish my degree right out of high school, so I've worked on an answer to the potential "what happened there?" follow-up question.

I completed my bachelor's degree the same year I turned 40, rather than the year I turned 22.

Houston, Texas, USA
DiSC: 1476

robin_s's picture

I finished college at 40 as well - definitely not the typical route to a career.  And the years before that I was primarily a stay-at-home mother with just some odd-job work experience (paid work that is, raising a family is definitely a full time job!).  I home-schooled my children, which I don't list on my resume, but I do bring that up in interviews if I am asked about what I did all those years!

naraa's picture

While I do think having good grades is a good indication of "kids" beeing smart, capable of perseverance and capable of adapting and responding well to what it is required of them in a given environment and I will definitely hire the high grade students, I also look for diversity, and a lot of people who didn´t fit well in schooling will do wonders in work place.  Some people that have "failed" in school have learned some lessons people that have only had perfect grades are yet to learn.  It is just a bit harder to separate those from the trouble ones that have also failed and one doesn´t really want to hire.  But it is worth it.   

It is worth listening to two spiring TED talks:  - How to learn from our mistakes.  So many times at work there is not one single right answer, and much less, there is no right answer to choose from multiple options.  One has to elaborate the multiple options oneself. - Different Ways of Knowing - amazing how Daniel Tammet, with synesthesia, can explain to the average rest of us, how he sees the world.  I can easily see how people with a different perception, not necessarily this one, but just as different, for example more intuitive, right-brain developed, not necessarily will fit in the schooling system but may fit well in a company environment, specially in those that will thrive in the future.

Robin, nice to see a positive example of someone who got back to the work environment after dedicating herself for her kids for a while.  I have a two and a four year old. I am struggling to find the dynamic balance between family and work.  I do consider perhaps it is better just to do one at the time.  The kids will grow and one cannot catch up with them.  One can always catch up with work, some way or another. Thanks for sharing your experience.