OK so we’ve worked hard to secure a job interview – most of us actually feel that we can clinch the job if we can just meet with the hiring manager and talk through how good we are. Up until this point the emphasis has been on you, your CV, your application, your flexibility to meet on a set day…. Now you get to meet the hiring manager and it’s all about you performing… Yes and no, yes – you do need to articulate yourself and respond to questions confidently whilst allowing your lovely personality to shine through. But this is also where the tables turn, it is the time when you meet your potential boss in your potential office building and make a decision as to whether you can work with these people or whether it is just not for you. Often we forget that the interview is a two way process, placing all emphasis on ourselves alongside a great deal of pressure. Take a deep breath – it’s a meeting, you are testing them as much as they are testing you.
Be prepared – practice scenarios to talk through which are relevant to the role and do your research on the business. 9 times out of 10 you will be asked if you know who they are and what they do. Now here’s the bit that people forget – your questions to the employer.
You will almost certainly be offered the opportunity to ask questions as the interview draws to a close, here are some things to consider:
- Are there any issues the team are currently facing which you would like me to address?
- How well is change received in the organisation and what is your policy on implementing it?
- In the bigger picture, how does this role fit organisationally within the business structure?
- What in your opinion are the most enjoyable aspects of the role?
- Is there anything else you would like to ask me – anything I haven’t covered or have been unclear on?
Avoid questions such around areas such as money, holidays and sick leave – this will be clarified should you be offered the role and you should have a fair idea having researched before the interview. Do not be afraid to take a neatly written (ideally typed) list of questions to the interview in a folder and ask permission to refer to them when prompted to ask questions. By not asking questions, you are not demonstrating a keen interest in the role. Keep the balance right, do not bombard the interviewer with lots of questions keep them to a concise list which is structured to ensure you are told everything you need to know about the role.
Another tip: when you are researching, find something out about the business which is in the public domain such as new product / initiative / partnering etc and mention this in one of your questions. For example; “I was interested to read that you are currently integrating a new web system within the organisation – will it have any direct effect on this department?” A sneaky way to demonstrate that you have indeed been doing your homework and are very interested in the business. I once had a client call me after interviewing one of my candidates laughing because my candidate knew more about a new initiative within the business than he did. He promised to find out the response to her question for next time they met. She got the job!
All too often we write our CVs conscious that we have 2 or 3 pages maximum to get down as much information as possible to attract employers and recruiters. However in trying to be frugal with words rather than write an essay, key information is lost in translation. I agree it is important to include keywords as these are what bring your CV to the top of the search for recruiters but it is also required to state what that process involves. For example stating you have full software lifecycle development experience would also require further detail such as key components like business requirements, UAT etc. Providing some context around this will also strengthen your application. When recruiters and hiring managers are reviewing CVs they are also looking for this detail and are far more likely to pick up the phone to you if you are answering their initial requirements by being thorough on your CV. Purely providing a list of skills is not useful to the reader as they need to understand when you have used the skills and what for.
Here are some tips to consider when creating your CV:
- Your CV needs to be clear and concise – do not assume the reader has worked at your company or even performed your role before. Ensure you carefully address all aspects of the role which are relevant to moving forward.
- If you have a list of skills in your current CV – look to remove from the skills section and integrate into the role remit, contextualising and expanding on those skills will provide the reader with the detail they need to see to be able to process your application successfully.
- Supersede the skills list with some key achievements which clearly state what you can do and how you add value in a team / business.
- If you are making applications – read the role advert or job description from start to end and ensure everything which is asked for is included in your CV, if you have done it. Do not add detail which is untrue or implies you have more exposure to than you actually have.
- Ensure you place more emphasis on your most recent roles and less detail on the older roles – this will assist you in getting good, relevant detail on to 2 or 3 pages and it is these roles which the employers are more interested in. Roles over 10 years old are less important to the employer as they were so long ago. Do, however, ensure you list these roles as company, job title and dates for completeness.
Writing your CV properly is the most important starting point to successfully securing a new role – once you have a good strong CV you are in a position to start planning your applications. Taking the time to ensure the CV is right first time will save a great deal of frustration further down the line.
If you have not previously considered having your CV professionally written, maybe now is the time to make contact to have a free consultation and CV feedback. www.thecvrighter.co.uk
Applying for jobs can become tiresome especially when there is little to no response to applications made and job adverts are less than inspiring, I’ve even spoken to techie IT PMs who have set up software to apply on their behalf – which does seem a bit extreme and has proven embarrassing for them when I have called them about a role they didn’t know they’d applied for. I have spoken with candidates who have applied for jobs in excess of 20 per week – trust me, that is too many. And I have also spoken to those who do not apply for any roles yet always secure interviews for roles relevant to their experience.
What is the right way? Well there are lots of right ways as much as there are lots of wrong ways – the most important way, is the one which suits your lifestyle and schedule most. If you are between contracts or unemployed, then I recommend all the below. However if you are currently in employment and not in a rush to “jump ship” then I would pick and choose which work for you best. Remember, if you are working in a secure area and cannot take calls during the day – you need to ensure you are communicating this in applications / on your CV and you should also look to set aside time where you can speak with recruiters’ etc. such as taking lunch breaks off site or agreeing to take calls prior to work or after hours.
Here are some ideas to ease the search for that next new role:
- Set up searches to do the trawling for you – most job websites will have a search engine which you can set to run daily / weekly and email you the results. The key to success for this type of search is to try a few keywords and see what the searches bring back to you. If you have a niche skill which you would like to play on, then you may only need to put this skill as a keyword such as Primavera etc. However using keywords such as “project manager” for a London location will return a rather large list of roles, so try to get the balance right by using keywords closely matched to your skill-set / industry / sector etc. Once you have your list of roles emailed to you, you need to go through each role and discard all the roles which are clearly not for you. By filtering down your list to a small manageable list of jobs, you are cutting down the disappointment of rejection and also cutting down your workload to send your applications to. Track your applications (which should be easy to do if there are only 3 or 4 per week) and request feedback for rejections, this should assist you in understanding whether your CV is saying the right things.
- Market yourself – Gain a review of your CV to understand if it is working for you, once you are confident it is, load it on the job websites and wait for the recruiters and employers to come to you. If your CV is good – they will! If you are under confident or you have tried this method and it hasn’t worked for you, seek advice from a professional CV writer who specialises in your field.
As part of one of our services – The CV Righter can assist you with getting started on applications and show you where to look etc. For a free CV review contact us: www.thecvrighter.co.uk