The Process Begins
Job Interview Preparation
The process of applying for jobs
You may recently have seen our blog on building your professional profile , in which Robert Hourie was providing some insights on how to best prepare your CV when applying for roles. We also, just a couple of weeks ago, held a webinar on the subject, featuring highly reputed industry professionals, advising on how you can present your best self to the job market.
Consider this post then, a sort of companion piece. Volume two, if you will, in a string of PSAs that may just guide you to your next role.
I want to talk about the application process and your first engagement with a company/companies you have applied to, regardless of whether you have done so directly, or through a recruiter. What follows should not to be considered a roadmap, that is to say it’s not a step-by-step guide, but rather a handful of pointers to keep you on the right track.
Know where you’ve applied
Yep, you read that correctly. You’d be amazed the amount of times we’ll be talking with candidates and get to the question of, “Have you applied to such and such a company in the last 6-12 months?” and been met with the response of, “I don’t know…” (or worse, “No” and then it turns out they have, often in the last week or so). There are several reasons why this might happen, chief among which are; forgetfulness – Fine, to err is human, so… errrrr…. Further to this, a good number of folk simply don’t know. Hard to believe, perhaps, but many will just hit the Quick Apply button without reading the job description properly, or even paying attention to the name of the company. Watch this space as there’s a whole other post coming sometime soon on the subject of Quick Apply.
Seriously though, keep a note. You harm your chances of landing a role, or even an interview, if you’re doubling up on applications.
Be open about where you’ve applied.
Applicants often feel the need to withhold information on other application/interview processes they’re involved in. For starters, there is absolutely nothing wrong with applying for a number of roles within different companies. It’s perfectly natural (in fact recommended) for you to keep an open mind and hedge your bets. You’re not alone in this either – I’ll let you in to a secret, companies and/or recruiters will have other candidates in the process too. Makes sense, if you think about it. Just as you apply for several jobs in order to give yourself the best chance of getting one, they look at several people to boost the likelihood of them filling the role. Some people still feel though, that it
harms their chances of securing an interview if they admit that they’re looking elsewhere, as though it makes them come across as less enthusiastic about this role/company, if it’s not the only one they have their eye on. The logic is sound, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. If a company see that you’ve applied to other, similar roles, even in similar companies, it shows that you’re serious in your search and can even make you more attractive to them as they might want to snatch you up before the competition does! Worst though, is when you receive an offer and only then choose to reveal that you’re holding off to see the outcome of another process. This just screams dishonesty – I’ve even seen offers instantly withdrawn because of it.
Know the role you’re applying for.
The sentiment behind this one is different to tip number one. I don’t mean it in terms of keeping track of the roles you’ve applied for, I’m talking in terms of doing your research – read the job description properly. Don’t presume that you’re suitable for a role, just because the title sounds a lot like you’re current one. The responsibilities of a Senior Java Developer in one company, might differ dramatically to those of someone with the same title, in another company. Make sure the requirements listed are well aligned with your own skills and experience. This leads me on to the next point on this topic - do be sure that you at least believe that you’d be a fit for this role. By this, I mean that you realistically see yourself as able to perform the outlined duties and, as noted in Robert’s post, that your profile/background backs this up. You’re first interaction with the company will clarify your viability anyway, but it’s vital that you do that bit of legwork from the start, so that you don’t go wasting your time or anybody else’s.
I’m talking about the verb, here. Do it. If you’ve applied for a role, it’s a good idea to look at making a few connections within that company. If nothing else, it bolsters your name recognition. Look to connect on LinkedIn with HR Administrators/Managers, as they’ll likely be the first to view your application. Search for people with the same title as the role that you’ve applied for, as well as relevant department managers. For example, if you’ve applied for a Software Developer role, search for Software Development Managers. React to recent posts made by that company. Even with just a “like”, it pops up as a notification and, again, your name appears in front of them – just maybe don’t overdo it, that could get irritating which really isn’t what we’re going for.
It’s a virtue we’re not all blessed with. I’m certainly not. It’s a natural pay-off for living in an age where news, purchases, and even money, are literally a click or two away. When it comes to interview processes though, it’s a pain we must all endure (talk about your first world problems). It’s not uncommon for there to be gaps of a week or even two, between interview stages. It might also be several weeks between you submitting your application, and the first time you hear back from a company. Many recruitment processes don’t fully kick off until a certain number of applicants are registered. Don’t write it off just because it takes a while. Better yet, resist the urge to take to social media to comment on a company’s hiring processes.
“Tick follows tock, follows tick, follows tock” – If it’s good enough for our beloved Guinness, then we’d all do well to remember that good things come to those who wait.
I’ll leave you with this one – Be tough!
This one is layered. Don’t let rejection get you down, and don’t be afraid to be the one doing the rejecting. Remember that if a company opts not to extend an offer to you, then it’s because they feel that you wouldn’t be the right fit for them. By extension, remember that this also means that they’re probably not the right fit for you either. Swallow it, take a breath, and on to the next. Also, with each stage of the interview process, you’re going to pick up new bits of information. Our opinions are (or should be) formed by the information we have at hand. Therefore, as new things come to light, you’re perfectly at liberty to change your mind. Don’t be afraid to stand up and say that you don’t think that this is right for you after all. And be honest about why. Your feedback could lead to that company reassessing an area of their business or processes that they’d never thought of before. It’ll also reflect well on you so that, even if you’re not joining going to join them now, you’ve left a door open and, at the very least, made a valuable connection.
Keep an eye out for more content from GemPool, on navigating the interview process and dealing with offers!