Posted on December 18, 2017
Following on from my blog on CV writing, I see the same approach being used on job searches and within interviews: a scatter gun and over play approach.
Many of those with whom I have worked go into a “Ground-rush” panic mode and apply for roles that they see on the various sites and through the various channels that even vaguely covers their various capabilities. I would advocate selecting a role or two that is of most interest to you, and then, seek them across the various internet, and Recruiter channels. Your understanding of the role can be enhanced by talking to people in the role currently, through the likes of LinkedIn, or perhaps on other social media platforms. If you are applying for more than one role, then ensure that your CV is not generic, but pertains to that role, and draw from your experience to be able to highlight your skills for that role.
Bear in mind, that, with planning, once you get to the interview, you will be in a position to ask questions around the role and responsibilities to further determine if that role is for you.
The CV is used to secure you the meeting, and this is called an “interview”. That means YOU get to look at the company, and the Hiring Manager gets to look at you. The dialogue needs to be just that, two-way. Be confident enough to determine if this is role that is going to suit you too.
There seems to be little in the way of advice on interviews, excepting the prolific suggestions on the types of questions that you should ask, and the obvious ones to avoid. Universally, there is a sound recommendation that you research to company well, and also the interviewer(s) via LinkedIn, and understanding this is going to be crucial to interview success.
My advice is different, certainly not for all, but based on my 30 years of sales experience. You are in a position where you are selling yourself, and for that reason, you need to go through the sales process to ensure that you have as much information as possible, that your “pitch” is correctly targeted, and that you come out confident that you have given your best, if not with some idea on where you stand in the rankings.
In brief, the following steps are useful to follow:
- Qualify in – Many interviewers will want to throw you in the deep-end and ask an open question like “Tell us about yourself”. At this point, rather than being dragged into their model of an interview, take a breath and then say words to the effect of, “Before I just jump into that, do you mind telling me, over and above those skills mentioned in the advert, what are the top 3 (or 5) things that you are looking for in the successful candidate.” Make a note of them, and then ensure you cover them.
- Read the situation, insofar as whether or not the interviewer would appreciate the following, and then, if you have confidence enough, then it is worth asking at this point, things like, how many candidates are being interviewed at this stage, what the timescales are on making a decision, who Is making the decision (is it down to the guy in the room, or is he recommending?) and what the stages of the process are.
- Evidence/Pitch – Based on the notes that you have made on what they are looking for, make sure you cover each point in telling them about yourself concentrating on the points that you have, and evidence them with some experience. Keep the points in mind as you progress to the other questions in the interview.
- Stay on message – Some interviewers will ask questions to throw you off your thinking, and this is normal technique. Do not be phased by this. Instead, it is good to ask them why they are asking that question, and determine what they are looking for. Respond in evidence to the new information you have.
- Qualify out – This is the point at which they have suggested the interview is coming to a close. At this stage, ensure that you repeat to them the points they said they are looking for in the successful candidate, and further, ask them if you have provided sufficient evidence on those points. Seek out any possible objections (this is a whole other chapter in dealing with them, but for this blog, it will give you an indicator on where you stand.) and accept their responses re-covering points or further adding to the evidence they need. Then, if you feel comfortable, ask them what their thoughts are on you as a candidate, and whether you are in the position for the next stage, or if you are well considered for the role. On many occasions people will tell you, however, in the sales environment, if that is what you are going for, they may well say that they will let you know through the official channels… this is nothing to worry about, as you will have impressed them with adopting the process.
These are subjects that can well be developed and a weekend of training and practice could be easily developed.
What is your experience? Have you used techniques to some success?