One of things people are most interested in when they are looking for a new job is interview practice. It’s true, interviews are a hard nut to crack. To help get past this, most people want to be prepared.
It’s really important to emphasise, that by the time you get to the interview, you’ve already set an expectation in the mind of the interviewer. You’ve created an image of who you are and what you are capable of through your application or CV. They already think you are more suitable for this role than everyone else, that’s why they are inviting you for an interview.
When you put the two together – getting an interview and prepping for one – you get two of the hottest topics job seekers and outplacement coachees are after.
So where’s the problem?
The problem is wanting to get past the interview so much, that people are willing to do anything to get past it. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes circumstances do not allow a person to remain out of work. Yet, even then, I would urge them to weigh their options before opting for doing anything to get a job.
Let me spell it out: when I work with job seekers, half the time they want me to put a CV together that will get them interviews. In the other half, they ask me what they should answer in the interview.
My personal preference to this (which is the road Simply Careers takes when providing outplacement support or supporting job seekers) is to get people to understand their own circumstances and limitations, explore what options they have and give them strategies to approach these opportunities.
That’s hard work, though. I know it is. Perhaps because it is hard, I have recently found that people prefer to rely on quick tips online rather than take the long way around. They prefer to read about what employers want to hear from them, rather than understand their own situation and practice verbalising it to the employer in a way that will make sense to both of them.
The high price of shortcuts
That’s not bad, I hear you say, surely a tech geek like yourself should value the wisdom of the masses. And I do – to an extent. When it comes to job seeking advice, however, the price of a shortcut can be higher than you’d think.
(This is where I ask those of who you cannot afford to be out of work to consider this argument.)
Let’s say you’ve embellished your CV to get an interview, and let’s say that you’ve practiced answering interview questions so that you say what you think employers want to hear.
You walk in to an interview with the interviewer having some expectations of you (based on your embellished CV), and your answers fit the mould perfectly. While this sounds a harmonious beginning to a beautiful friendship, by not being honest (at the very least, with yourself) you are actually forcing pegs into holes of other shapes.
The allegedly harmonious situation you have set up created a further set of expectations from the employer. Question is – how long can you keep up the façade? My experience (of both interviewer and interviewee) shows that it takes between 2 weeks and 3 months for either (or both sides) to realise that some pegs are painfully misplaced.
What this means in real life is the realisation that values are not where they are supposed to be; that social and/or technical understandings don’t really fit; that expectations of capability are not matching up with performance.
The professional buzzword for this is “cultural fit” and the outcome of getting a job under, shall we call it “an augmented premise”, winds up in disgruntlement and disappointment on both parts. That means you, the job seeker, will be out of a job; and you will have left an employer with a rather bad aftertaste.
Let’s work at it from the other direction.
Let’s say you tailor your CV so that it meets what the employer is after, but don’t add bits that are untrue (partially or wholly). And let’s say that you’ve gone through the trouble of really understanding how you could fit in this job, with this employer, that you’ve considered where the issues could be and how they could be resolved (or not).
Now you walk in to the interview, you answer truthfully and honestly (without being rude). You may come across as a bit quirky (but aren’t we all a bit quirky?). You may point out that not all pegs fit into all holes. Quite importantly, you will have demonstrated you’ve given this job and this employer thought and time.
What sort of impression do you think that left? I can’t tell, but I’m willing to bet that not fitting the mould will have made you more memorable than presenting yourself as a cardboard cut-out of a job seeker. Is that a good thing? Most definitely.
What do you think? Should you be honest in your job searching? Let us know! Comment below.
If you would like to learn more about our strategies to help job seekers, get in touch.
Photo used from thebeginwithinblog.com .