I’ve been interviewing for jobs a lot over the past couple of months.
Without getting into too many details, our situation is such that I need to find full-time employment again in my old career.
I’m confident that I will eventually find a job, but the process has been tough on me.
After a couple of rejections you start to doubt yourself. Here’s some lessons I’ve learned over the past few months.
Hopefully they’ll encourage you to make yourself a better candidate and keep at it.
You Never Even Had a Chance
I’ve been on both side of this scenario. The company already has a person picked out for the job but they need to do some interviews to show a good faith effort. Regardless of your feelings about this tactic (I hate it), companies do it.
And in these situations the cards are simple stacked against you. Just move along and be glad you had the interview practice.
You Are Looking for a “Job”
When companies can be picky about who they hire, they typically go for candidates that are in it for the long-term. A lot goes into bringing a new employee on (training, equipment, etc.). As with any upfront investment, you want it to pay off in the long-run.
So be sure you present yourself as someone who’s interested in the company (that means know about them before hand), and someone who has a passion for their career field. Even if you don’t, you need to act like you do.
Your Previous Salary is Scaring Employers
An employer doesn’t want to hire someone who will be looking for another job from day one. If they know that they can’t compete with your previous salary, they will be scared off. Sometimes this is hard to overcome.
But one thing I’ve been trying to do is use this language when they ask about salary: “My previous salary was x a year, but I want you to know that I’m not necessarily focused on a specific target for my next job.
In this economy I’m more concerned about finding a well-established, notable company to work for…somewhere I can make a difference and make use of my skills.” Using this language has enabled me to get past the first interview with a few employers.
It also helps if you can articulate why you were paid so much at your old job: heavy travel, long hours expected, etc.
You Didn’t Act Interested
Put away the ego and the attitude. They are in the position of power. They have all the leverage. Act appreciative of the opportunity, excited about the position, and be sure to thank them for their time.
Make sure you say, “I’m definitely interested in this position.”
You Couldn’t Articulate Your Skills and Experience
Your resume got you in the door, your communication skills are going to have to carry you the rest of the way. This is where I struggle. I have an impressive background (at least I think so). But I can’t always articulate what I’ve done effectively.
Spend some time writing down all of the projects you’ve worked on in previous jobs. Use what you know about the new role to tailor your talking points. At least spend a few days going over your resume and practice discussing what you did in each role. Be ready to discuss details too.
You Haven’t Been at it Long Enough
I’m convinced that finding a job in a rough economy is just a numbers game. If you consistently put your best foot forward and go to enough interviews you will eventually find a job. A recruiter once told me that it would take on average, one month for every $10,000 salary increment you require.
Therefore, if you make $50,000, it will take on average 5 months. I sure hope it doesn’t take me that long.
What are your tips for doing better on your next job interview?
photo by Alex France