Lets face it the job market is horrendous. Especially sought after well paid jobs. It’s like your competing in an arena, full of people armed with spears whilst blindfolded. Throw in some recruiters who are trying to channel you into fire pits and vacancies they need to fill and it’s a total nightmare. So I’ve made a list of 10 things I think and personally have found out that are helpful to know while navigating these shark infested waters.
- Your first interview is not likely to include the big dogs of the business. It’s more like an informal chat for them to check you are not a lunatic and can hold a conversation. It’s also a way of screening the many applicants and picking the creme de la creme for the big dogs on the second interview. But don’t think they’re not important, sometimes hundreds of people have applied for these positions so make sure you’re memorable and approachable.
- Your first interview probably won’t last that long – the shortest I’ve been in is fifteen minutes the longest was an hour and fifteen. The second one will last much longer and will really focus on what you can do and what experience you have which is relevant to the role.
- Expect to have to talk about yourself from a personal perspective, it won’t be aimed as a direct question but they like to know what your hobbies are, how you spend your free time, what is important in your life.
- You may have to wait to be seen. For a lot of the people who are interviewing it’s not a part of their job role and they have to make time during the day to sit down and talk to you. Try not to clock watch and most definitely do not sit on your phone while you are waiting. Look around for a magazine or brochure to browse or just sit and watch whats going on. See how people communicate, dress codes and behaviour… think would you like to work in this environment?
- Know your CV inside out particularly your most recent jobs. When asked don’t leave anything out… you may not think that the ten minute editing jobs you do every day are relevant but that might be a key reason they are interested in employing you.
- Make sure you take a pen and paper with you – so you can jot down some information and also have three questions ready to ask them at the end of the interview. It shows initiative and that you’ve thought about the job. Think about questions like what do they enjoy in their role ? What is the best thing about the company for them ? Is there a strong team ethos ?
- The reason we move jobs is mainly to progress in our careers but for the employer they also want to see that you will be a part of their company in the future not just as a stepping stone to your ‘dream’ job. When asked why you are looking elsewhere orientate it around the role you are applying for ‘I’m looking to move into a more marketing specific role as I find I enjoy doing that the most’ or ‘I’m looking to move away from sales and into ….’. Make it clear you know what you are looking for.
- Become comfortable with being overdressed. I know it’s common now for most offices to take a smart casual approach but you can never be too sure. The one time you dress down will be the one time you wish you didn’t. I once was scheduled into an interview on a Friday in a solicitor’s office, I wore my smartest trouser suit to arrive and found they do ‘relaxed Fridays’ – there wasn’t a shirt or suit in sight. I felt so overdressed and like a neon sign was pointing me out in the sea of dresses and jumpers but it showed I was serious about the interview and gave the right impression.
- Don’t apply for everything and anything, it’s very time-consuming applying for multiple jobs night after night and although you may get an interview is it where you want to be? There’s no point upping sticks and adapting to another environment to find three months in that it isn’t what you were looking for. If you have a job and you are managing make sure you pick the right career change for yourself. If you see a role but are not too sure give them a call and ask for some more information, it shows you can take initiative and are happy to communicate with strangers straight away.
- Try not to be disheartened – I once went for an interview and didn’t hold a full conversation with one person, I was shuffled into a room with no windows and was asked to complete a questionnaire within an hour. They came and took my paper and returned ten minutes later saying ‘I wasn’t suitable for the role and could I exit down the corridor and down the stairs on the left’. I left with tears streaming down my face and feeling like a total fool.
If anybody ever told you changing jobs was easy it’s probably most stressful thing you can do apart from moving house. Take your time, breath and make sure you are as prepared as possible whenever you walk into an interview. Moving jobs isn’t a quick move it’s a real commitment as humans we spend over a 1/3 of our life at work, so make sure it’s the right move for you.