Job seekers that only think like job seekers are unlikely to get an interview.
Thinking like a job seeker can mean that we fail to see things from the employer’s view point or worse, we make up our own version of what the employer’s view point is! For example, there’s an advert for a great vacancy. The job seeker sees it and thinks along the lines of “There’s going to be loads of competition / they won’t want me / look at all the criteria in the advert that I don’t match….”
The employer who posted the advert doesn’t have anyone for the job (otherwise, they would not have gone to the expense of advertising!). The employer does want to hire someone (someone who wants the job and can be relied on to do it well!). Ideally, they want someone with some or most of those attributes that they listed but they know that it’s unlikely that they’ll find someone with all of them.
The employer has been through this horrendous recruitment process before. Yes, it’s horrendous for the employer. It costs a fortune, it takes up precious time and resources and then there’s the added (as yet, unknown) costs of training the new employee. And here’s the biggy: there’s a HUGE RISK involved.
The employer thinks: “What if I hire the wrong person? What if they turn out to be lazy or difficult to work with? What if they take loads of time off, aren’t punctual, watch the clock? What if they just can’t do the job? What if they don’t last? What if have to do it all over again in six month’s time?’
All the employer wants (as soon as possible) is to feel confident that you have reassured them over three basic concerns: Attendance, Ability and Conduct.
If you can demonstrate that they will be there when you are needed, will do the job you are going to be paid to do, to a high standard and that you will behave well with your new colleagues and customers then you are in the running.
If you demonstrate that you will over-achieve in these areas, you’re on the short-list – you may even have the job!
So, how can you demonstrate that you will be early for work and flexible to stay late / do extra when duty calls? How can you demonstrate that your performance in the job will be outstanding? And, how can you demonstrate that you will get on well with people and give a great customer experience?
Did you pick up that the key word here is demonstrate? Think of some specific, genuine examples that tick these boxes. Avoid using hypothetical examples. So if you’re reading this and thinking “Well, I would….” or “If this happened….” then, STOP!
Attendance: This doesn’t just mean not taking time off. It means time-keeping and flexibility too. Let’s discuss punctuality though: When have you always made sure to be on time for something? If you haven’t worked before it might be: lessons / lectures / clubs / taking your gran shopping?
But what if you’re just rubbish at being on time? Are you one of those people who’s always late? OK. It’s time to change your behaviour! Even if you get a job, you’re going to be looking for another one very soon if you don’t sort this out. Tardiness makes you seem unreliable and disrespectful. It lets others down. Your team mates, your customers, anyone who is trying to contact you. You could be missing an opportunity for advancement while you’re hitting the snooze button again!
Sometimes, people who are late aren’t lazy, they just have an over optimistic view of what can be done in a certain timeframe. So at the time when you should be leaving the house, you think, “I’ll just put the washing on / walk the dog / watch the end of this programme.” Or maybe you tried the route to work at a quiet time of the day and it took 30 minutes and you forgot that you need to double that to allow for the rush-hour! Whatever your excuse, stop believing it because your employer will not agree, understand or trust you.
Think it through. If you can’t demonstrate your punctuality with your past performance, make sure you do your homework and explain to the interviewer that you have checked the commute at the worst possible times and you will be leaving the house at X o’clock to ensure that you are in at least 15 minutes early, every day!
Ability: What if this is a new career and you’ve never done this work before? This is where your personal strengths and your transferrable skills come in to play. Think of ways to demonstrate how what you have done before relates to this new work. You will need to do your homework on the company, the department and the people you’ll be working with. Have you looked at their website? Have you googled them? Have you been a customer? Have you chatted to people who already work there? Before the day of the interview? Good. So let’s say you know that they work to strict deadlines. One of your key strengths is that you are very conscientious. You just cannot bear the thought of letting anyone down. Your friends and past colleagues always knew that they could count on you. For example, there was the time when…..
Conduct: This is where your personality comes in to play in the interview. If the interviewer likes you, personally, they will assume that others will like you. Tick! However, they want to know that you aren’t going to use your personality to lead others astray! Talk about your past experiences in a favourable, positive light. Always. Even the worst challenges you have faced have taught you something and that is a positive. So don’t run down your previous employers, colleagues or customers. Demonstrate how you worked as a team. Highlight your strengths and your contributions to an overall result. The employer wants to know what you did, the part you played in that great team effort.
OK, so this is all great in your cover letter, on your application form and in the interview. What happens afterwards? If you were the employer and you had a handful of great candidates and weren’t sure which one to pick, what would you do next? Check references? Maybe. Run another round of interviews? Perhaps. More likely though in 2013, you might google your candidates.
If this has come as a shock to you then the very next thing you must do is take a good look at your real CV. You know, the one that’s on Facebook, twitter and all the other social networks that you use. This is where your real life story is reflected. And this is where your employer could find out that the real you does not match up to the version you presented in the interview!
Are you the kind of person who vents your spleen on Facebook every time something irritates you? Do you share, like, retweet or comment on material that’s a bit near the knuckle? Do you share your emotional state with the world? Are you tagged in less than flattering photos? Well then, perhaps a little editing is in order then or at least an adjustment of your privacy settings. Don’t feel that you can’t share anything personal though, you don’t want to look like all you do is work (or look for work!). No-one wants to work with a bore! Just try and make sure that there is nothing there that you would feel uncomfortable about if your prospective boss was to take a look. After all, he/she is human too!
Remember, the employer simply wants to know they can rely on you, to be there when you’re meant to be, to do the job you’re paid to do and to act nice with people.
That’s not too much to ask is it?
To book a free consultation with The DREAM JOB COACH, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07766 250192
Photo credit: What Colour Is Your Parachute? 2014