If you want to get your first step on the career ladder or perhaps make the move to that dream job then chances are you will have to go through the interview process. However to excel in the interview and get the job there are a lot of things you need to get right!
Speaking as a former recruitment professional, having a great CV and strong interview technique will no doubt give you a good footing to build on. These alone however are simply not enough anymore. Here are a few extra tips that you might not have considered which will help you during the application and interview process.
Don’t be too eager!
Research conducted within the recruitment industry has shown that the first person interviewed gets the job only 17.6% of the time. However the last person interviewed is hired almost 56% percent of the time, more than three times more frequently. This is attributed to employers being wary of accepting the first choice offered to them and wanting to see the alternatives. Therefore, do what you can to position yourself among the last candidates interviewed, and definitely not among the first.
You should also wait around 10-14 days before responding to a job advert. If you are applying through a recruiter ask them to wait it out and not put you forward too early. If the interviewer asks you when you can set up an appointment, select the latest date they offer. If they let you pick the date, ask them for a rough timeframe then select a date towards the end of that. Studies have also shown that Monday is the worst day of the week to be interviewed and the worst time for an interview is late afternoon, so avoid these as much as possible as well!
Qualifications are not the most important thing!
Another aspect to consider is that qualifications are not key to getting a job. When I was a recruiter jobs often went to applicants who had lower level qualifications but instead had previous experience within the role or industry. Furthermore, research also indicates that almost two-thirds of the time the best qualified candidates don’t get the offer. Usually the person chosen often meets fewer than half of the jobs qualification requirements. The reason for this is employers will usually offer the job to those candidates who, promote themselves best, intimidate least and listen the most.
Listen to the interviewer
Good listening skills are not only polite, they also allow you to determine just what the interviewer is really asking. This may sound strange but interviewers will often ask veiled questions designed to extract as much information from you as possible, for example instead of asking:
“Will you bad-mouth me or this company if things don’t work out for you here?” to which any applicant will simply answer no. They will ask “Tell me about a time you were disappointed in a co-worker or boss.” As this is more likely to coax a detailed answer out of you from which they can draw their own conclusions about your character and suitability for the role. It is being able to recognize the underlying meaning of these questions that provides you with both the knowledge and opportunity you need to sell yourself to the prospective employer.
As any business professional will tell you branding is crucial and providing a consistent brand image goes along way with customers. When it comes to job hunting it’s no different, so be your own brand manager!
Create business cards to make it clear to the interviewer that you are a dedicated professional, make the cards match the font and format of your CV to present a unilateral brand image to employers. You should also bring along a portfolio of work where applicable to support you in the interview. This not only makes you look more professional but also provides the employer with a preview of what they can expect from you. For maximum impact select a range of your best and most relevant work. Many other applicants won’t think to do this so you are making yourself stand out even further from the field.
Present your strengths and weaknesses via short stories.
No one believes general statements. You must validate each of your strengths with a specific example of how it was used in a real job or learning situation that draws strong parallels with the role you’re applying for. In addition, you need to demonstrate how you’ve turned your weaknesses into strengths. Never say you don’t have any weaknesses! Firstly employers don’t believe it because let’s face it, nobody’s perfect. Secondly it also shows employers that you’ve stopped growing or at least wanting to grow within your career.
So as you can see there are several other factors to consider when attending interviews. Unfortunately there is no hard and fast method that guarantees to get you get hired. However if you use all of these tips I have just talked about, then you give yourself the best possible chance of getting the job.