'A' for Effort: Jobseekers' Interview Blueprintby Helmy Sa'at
A tidal wave of resignations has been recorded around the world. It has been labelled as the Great Resignation. In the United States alone, a staggering 4 million people quit their jobs in July 2021. Mostly, the pandemic has been identified as the push factor whereby more and more people have reached their breaking points with compounded stress while having to work remotely (if one is still fortunate to have a job), which blurred the lines between work and family spaces.
At the same time, there comes the realisation and greater appreciation that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, thus climbing the ladder of the corporate world is no longer a top priority.
However, what about those who have decided to re-enter the working world, not out of choice, but necessity? And, those who have just graduated in these unprecedented times and thrown into a world of uncertainties for which the education landscape did not prepare them for?
Dive Right In
You have prepared your resume and tailored them for the various job openings in different industries? Checked! You have done your research about the industry and companies you have applied for? Checked! You have seemingly read every self-help book available out there to help you ace that interview and clinch that job? Checked!
There is such a thing as over-preparing which equals implicit procrastination. It is that gnawing feeling inside the pit of your stomach that nudges you to think that there is still something lacking, thus the need to prepare more or read on. The truth of the matter is that you just have to be confident in your accumulated skill set (and past experience, if any) and let yourself immerse in the process.
One way of accumulating the right experiences is to apply what you have learnt in a real interview process. The more interviews you go through, the more you would grow as a savvy interviewee. Additionally, real world immersion would help to identify your weaknesses and strengths as an interviewee.
Fact: You are more than ready.
Asking The Right Questions
You owe it to yourself to determine if you are the right fit for the position. More importantly, is the job scope right for you? Are you able to add value to the team and organisation while growing as a productive individual?
It is pertinent to realise this need and feel empowered to ask certain hard questions — questions which might evoke a sense of discomfort as they are deemed to be professionally taboo. A deal breaker because of perceived unprofessionalism at such an early stage during an interview for a position; a so-called red flag that an interviewee is not serious about the job opening.
Yes, the issue of money, money and more money.
One word: Salary.
You have to realise that this particular question is about your right in weighing your options. It is not only about supporting oneself, but also one’s family which makes any candidate’s question about salary a sign of thoughtfulness, not greediness or selfishness. Any candidate worth his or her salt would be compensated fairly and the hiring manager should have no qualms in discussing it as ultimately it is a negotiation, an important conversation.
As with any conversation, listening is an important part of the equation. Always seek confirmation or clarification when warranted. The conversation has to involve two people being on the same page. It is not wrong to politely ask the other party to repeat certain things if need be.
Whether you are interviewing with a hiring manager that is halfway around the world or in the same city, investing in the right set of tools in this day and age is key. Virtual interviews have become the accepted norm. Let’s avoid unnecessary glitches by spending that extra money in purchasing a high resolution webcam, for instance. Subscribe to a reliable internet connection provider at home instead of relying on public WiFi.
Furthermore, the simple rules of dressing professionally still apply. Eye contact is just as important in the virtual world as it signifies attentiveness. In the best of circumstances, there might still be inevitable delays in connection which affects streaming of video and audio quality, thus it is important to not interrupt the hiring manager’s words as much as possible.
The employment landscape has been drastically affected and changed by the pandemic. While there are certain unchanging unspoken rules about interviews, the above three facets have emerged as key considerations which require serious pondering for a successful job interview in the new normal.