In every job interview you’ll be asked questions and you’ll provide answers. Depending on how you answer the questions, your demeanor, and other things outside your control, the interview will have two results. You’ll be offered a job or you’ll come in second and be rejected.
Of course your entire job-hunting strategy is to come in first for a job you want. The biggest factor in winning in the job interview process is to assure the interviewer your past experience and accomplishments will translate into immediate benefits for the employer. Failure to convince the hiring manager that you fit their needs will mean your job hunt will continue.
Most jobs require initiative, problem solving, research and analysis, management of time and assets and team building. In most job interviews you’ll be asked a series of questions to determine how successful you are in each of these skills.
Recently is discussing the job hunting efforts with a laid off cost accountant I was shocked at how little effort he was putting into his job hunt. Over four months he had his resume and application in at only three possible employers. His rationale was that it was a tough market out there, but he knew there were occasional openings at these three employers and all he had to be was patient.
Yes, he read the Sunday paper but nothing caught his eye. He talked to a few friends about his job hunt but he didn’t want to push himself on anyone. He talked to his alumni group but they had nothing for him but he didn’t follow-up. On balance he’s spending the majority of his time waiting for his ship to come in.
Really, are jobs found by waiting for the white limo to pull up in front of your house, a hiring manager jumps out with a briefcase full of bonus money, comes to your door and pleads with you to take their job?
Not hardly! Jobs are never offered in this manner. Yet that was his attitude. But what if he had a job interview and was asked to relate what a typical day and week was in his job search?
If he was truthful, he would have quickly lost his chance to get a job offer. He was not showing initiative, he was poorly managing his time, he was not aggressive, his assumptions could not stand a logical test and quite frankly he is lazy. Not qualities any employer would be looking for.
On the other hand let’s say he had a hard-working job hunt underway. He worked his action plan every day. He kept good records of his progress, his results and his follow-up obligations. His resume research continued every week along with his job interview preparation. His network was expanding every day. He was an active member of a job search group. He helped others in their job search. He adjusted his job search plan based on his results and as he uncovered new ideas.
Now you’re the hiring manager and you ask the question, “Tell me about your job search plan what is a typical day and week like?” In the second example you would be impressed with the depth of his planning and how he was working his job hunting plan. In fact in the second example the candidate added his job hunting project activity to answers about initiative, learning new skills, planning and time and project management.