Growth, evolution, changes. Technology may be a wonderful thing, but it has negative elements—especially if you’re in transition and looking for a job. Why? Perhaps you don’t know how to conduct a contemporary job search. Well, that may not be true, and don’t blame yourself.
Two decades ago, applicants would submit their IBM Selectric–typewritten résumés to companies’ personnel offices when applying for jobs. Today, applicants modify and tailor their word-processed résumés to include many of the keywords they pick up from job descriptions themselves because applicants know that companies’ applicant tracking system softwares rate those keywords high when hiring managers make queries. Regrettably, in the current economy, the job market is literally flooded with résumés to the point that résumés are clogging up the system and overwhelming the people making searches. One study pointed out that a company’s applicant/candidate search surfaces way too many very qualified applicants because all of the applicants’ résumés have the right keywords—which causes yet another problem: yes, the computer mechanically selects résumés based on skills and keywords, but the hiring manager is looking also for a good fit into the company’s culture. And that’s the reason companies conduct multiple interviews.
If you’re asked to come in for an interview, it means you had sufficient keywords to convince the hiring manager that you have the skills to do the job. But now comes the second test, which for some is more difficult. In the next hour or so, during that interview, you have to convince the interviewer(s) that in addition to a skill set, you have the personality traits to make you a welcome employee in their organization. For example, you show your passion and excitement for the job and the work; you’re an excellent communicator; you have a pleasant demeanor; you’re not argumentative, opinionated, or abrasive; and you possess all the qualities of the ideal candidate. It is hoped that the interviewer’s boss would comment favorably on your selection and that your future peers and subordinates would praise you in your absence. This is a tall order, because all of the other candidates of course have good skills too; otherwise, they wouldn’t have been selected for interviews.
So, what’s the key to success? There are two answers: (1) prepare for the interview by practicing, practicing, practicing mock interviewing with an experienced interview coach, and (2) learn how to be an actor. In fact, while interviewing, you are an actor onstage, and those interviewing you are watching you perform and judging you based on that performance. With proper and adequate preparation, you should be able to outshine your competition. Good luck with the offer—and congratulations on being a good student and open for new and helpful ideas.