by Rob Ridout

Writing crime fiction and early influences: television detectives ... 

One of the most vital aspects of any job interview is your ability to successfully interpret the job specification. For many, this elusive document often carries with it very little information, which in turn provides no insight into the vacant role and therefore impacts your chances of a successful interview. This is where your detective skills are needed. Finding the exiting incumbents profileThere is a part of the job specification that is always left out and is vitally important - who was the incumbent in the role? This is the starting point of investigating your alignment with the vacant role. My tipFirst, find the previous incumbents profile on LinkedIn. By simply inserting the job description title and choosing the company name in your search fields you have a good chance of finding the profile(that’s if it's not a new role).You can also use google this may also take you to recruiters who have advertised the role. These recruiters may have added additional information not included in the job specification. LinkedIn vs the Specification Job ResponsibilitiesJob Specifications are notoriously thin on the complete and most up to date role description. Often a job description is either old or slightly and quickly updated. Any additional information that you can gain for your interview is an advantage that you will need. My Tip
Once you have found the incumbents profile look to see if there are additional responsibilities not included in the job specification. Most individuals complete their own Linkedin profile before moving into the market and often include critical info not included in the specification. This will give you a more up to date, “hands-on” version what the role encompasses. What was the previous role occupied by the incumbentWhat the outgoing incumbent did as a job before their current role will provide you with great guidance when designing your interview strategy. Aligning your experience in previous roles vs the role on offer you will give you an upper hand. However, use this strategy with caution as you will need to ascertain if the outgoing incumbent experience was the correct “fit”. Normally if that person was in the role for a while then that indicates a good “fit”. My Tip
If the person had strong experience with a specific software package not mentioned on the job spec and you have that experience, then mention that experience in your interview. This may have been a major selling point for the previous incumbent when he/she applied but not mentioned in the job description. You can also just add that bit of information into the interview as a side comment to a specific question. The last word from my side on this important topic.  By far the most important part of the specification is the minimum requirements section. You should always draw attention to the parts of your CV that indicate that you meet these minimum requirements. This can be done in your cover letter or first page of your CV and then replicated in your interview. Rob Ridout Send your CV for a free assessment to rob@isantya.comor visit our website for further information on our career coaching and CV/LinkedIn writing packages. 


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