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With the current ratio of interviews to hires during this recession time, Employers can afford to be picky with the candidates that are walking through the door. There are always more people looking for a job and most employers want to ensure that they are getting the best value for their money. Generally in recessions, the ratio of job interviews to job offers is as high as 17-to-1 (this drops to 6-to-1 during the “good times”) so nailing that first impression is paramount.
Some common assumptions that candidates make about the interview process are:
- I am good communicator – while this is obviously important (confidence at the interview stage is key) you need to remember that communicating in the workplace is different to an interview. Quite often you are going to be interviewed by people that are not skilled in the role that you are trying to fill and they will not understand the jargon that someone who does the job you do would. Also there is the potential that you will have group interviews where you will be cross examined by multiple parties simultaneously – remember that focus your attention on the person asking the question, but you need to be cognizant of the body language of the rest of the panel also.
- I can do the job – while this might be absolutely true, it really has no bearing on the interview itself! As I’ve already mentioned, if you’re being interviewed by someone who doesn’t understand Routers, talking about the TCP/IP stack is not going to get you anywhere!!
- I am (was) a Manager and have interviewed people before – there is a big difference between interviewing and being the interviewee. Once you’re on the other side of that table you need to ensure that the answers you are providing are relevant to the questions being asked. You need to show enthusiasm for the role and do not be afraid to show some ambition when asked the question – “What are your plans for the future?” If you’re able to answer truthfully that you want to get back into Management and would like to eventually be sitting on the other side of the chair again yourself that would probably not be misconstrued – however do NOT be arrogant and assume that you can do the job of the person that you are speaking to tomorrow. Just as in your previous role, this one is no different – its not just the technology that you need to learn but also the people and he has that knowledge whereas you will need to learn it again.
- I know all about the business/sector – while you might have worked in this sector before, you actually DO NOT know it all. Eat a little humble pie here. The key thing that you should do though is ensure that you know EXACTLY what the company is looking for and also as much information about the company as possible. It is more than frustrating for an interviewer to ask the candidate what do they know about the company they are interviewing with and then have the candidate waffle on. In today’s world, there is really no excuse not to know as much as possible about the role and the company – BE PREPARED!
Now while this is by no means an exhaustive list, it definitely covers the main things that I’ve had experience with from both sides of the chair. Practice doing interviews in front of a mirror, make notes about how your strengths line up with what the company is looking for, BE CONFIDENT and ensure that you project that image of yourself.
Remember that that the job search is a job itself and should be treated as such. Your resume and CV opens doors, your personality will get you the job! Best of luck.