It’s been a long time since I have been in the ‘official’ job market ie a paid employee of a company, and I had all but forgotten about the hoops you have to jump through to get a job. But jump you must.
I’ve been finding it increasingly frustrating working as a freelance writer : a decreasing market of paid opportunities combined with an ever-increasing supply of people willing (and able) to work for gratis.
With my youngest now in school I thought it a good time to dip a tentative toe in the murky waters of real employment once again… and it’s a bit scary.
It’s hard enough to even get an interview these days – when thousands are applying for just a handful of jobs with the likes of Costa Coffee and Tesco you know the market is fiercely competitive.
So, if you do get through round one and get a golden ticket/invite for an interview how should you approach it?
I asked top coach Nicol Chaplin who advises many women like me who are attempting to return into the ‘official’ world of work.
She gave me some top tips which she is happy for me to share.
1. Ask yourself what is it about this job that makes you feel enthusiastic and passionate? How will you convey your passion and enthusiasm at your initial meeting?
2. Prepare a list of your talents (experience, skills, strengths, values) to help remind yourself of everything you have to offer. This will help you feel confident in yourself and your abilities.
3. Prepare real life examples to show you have experience in all the areas that they cover in the job description.
4. What do you want to know from them? Asking good questions is important and listening to the answers is equally important!
Wear an outfit that makes you feel professional and good about yourself (including shoes, bag, hair and make up)
Breathe …. Smile …. Pace your delivery (not too fast) …. Maintain eye contact. Bring the best you into the interview.
Why it Goes Wrong
Common mistakes – Going for a job that doesn’t really interest you or fit your experience. Not being prepared (company background, job role, your experience for the job etc). Not listening to what is actually asked in the interview. Talking too much when the question called for a simple answer.
Interviewers form a view quite quickly but usually remain open-minded. It is still up to the interviewee to talk themselves into the job (though some are also capable of talking themselves out of it)!
Avoid apologising for being out of the official job market. 9 times out 10 you will have been gaining experience in other ways and through other routes. Maximise your experience and make sure its relevant for the role you’re going for. Also think about why you want this particular job (enthusiasm is catching) so bring it into the interview room with you.
If you don’t get the job don’t despair – ask for feedback and use that to help next time round.
Nicol says it’s a good idea to demystify the interview process.
” An interview is just another name for a conversation between two or more people (and you have conversations every single day of your life)! Also think about this conversation as being a two-way street – what do you want to know about the company/team/role? Stay interested and focused and don’t walk in and give away your power to the person on the other side of the desk… all your talents, strengths and skills are uniquely yours and they want to see you at your best.”
I think Nicol’s tips all make good sense – do you have any more?