Rob Ridout has over 25 years experience as a headhunter. In 2008 he published his book CVforLIfe - the ultimate career advice book. His career coaching business has flourished and now offers Career coaching,
Career Counselling and CV and resume writing services. He works with universities such as GIBS and Monash to offer some of the highest caliber career coaching.
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Your Career Story - The cornerstone of a good interview strategy
I am constantly asked questions about the interview and its many variations and complexities. This all too common topic has become a major fear factor for most candidates moving through the recruitment process. Actually, the interview is simply one party trying to understand if the other party can do the job and/or has the potential to do the job and of course, is telling the truth. Oversimplification, I know.
In the defence of the interviewer, this screening process is a critical part of ensuring that an incorrect candidate is not hired. The interviewer often or not resorts to a form of an interview that assimilates interrogation.
The candidate, however, moves into the interview process blissfully unaware of the interrogation that is about to follow and many times is not well informed of the key issues around company corporate culture and hidden key details that have not been included in the specification, such as why the previous candidate left.
When I coach my clients I place a massive emphasis on how to tell the interviewer your career story.
Your CV is a critical part of the process here and I continuously advocate that this all-important document needs to be your “script” and should read that way. Once you have mastered your CV story candidates can focus rather on answering difficult interview questions without fumbling around with basic career details.
Speak about the most recent information
We are all very proud of our achievements at school and our first job. However, the interviewer wants to understand what we have achieved most recently. The ten-year rule here is important. Most interviewers will concentrate on your roles ten years after your current role, so when you talk about your background make sure you provide information about the most recent roles.
Remember the interview time limit
You can assume that most interviews will last between 30 to 40 minutes. (the longer the better actually). You will only be given about 60% of that time to answer questions and speak about yourself. This is actually not a lot of time so when you practice your story work according to this time-frame. Also remember that when the interviewer starts speaking about their company, often at the end of the interviewer let the speak. Often this could indicate a good interview result.
Selling vs screening
The initial interview will always centre around screening. So you should be ready for lots of questions. Practice your potential responses beforehand. This is not the time to launch into a full sales pitch about yourself. Keep your answers to the point and provide practical examples of your achievements.
The selling part of your journey will happen later. Try also establish what the recruiter or hiring manager is asking you, as many try to ask questions with a predetermined response, almost as if they are working from their own script - which they are! If you are unsure rather ask for clarification rather than ask the question incorrectly.
Let your story flow
There is nothing worse for the interviewer than a candidate stumbling through their career history with little or no story especially with poor move motivators. This creates a very dubious picture of your background and then provides the interviewer with an opportunity to hammer you with questions on potential problems. The most common of these stumbling blocks is the very famous question - “so why did you leave”? Keep this answer simple with no opportunities for the other party to raise questions.
These are just a few of my hints regards creating a story, in future articles I will cover the important topic of asking questions in an interview and the interview participants.
How to dodge the recruitment screening robot Robots are commonly used among top companies to vet job applications before passing contenders to hiring managers for further consideration. The robot software is known as an applicant tracking system (ATS) and it's used by about 95% of Fortune 500 companies and many online job boards.But it's possible to outsmart ATS algorithms by making the most of keywords and establishing a rapport with the company. Your dream job, say as a Google programmer or a globe-trotting wine taster, appears in a posting online. You submit a resume and a week goes by — no response. After two or three more, still nothing. The simmering distress boils over as you realize that a response will never come, and you'll never know why. "Don't take it personally," a friend tells you over drinks. The advice sounds canned but is quite literally correct: A robot likely read and rejected your application. The robot is actually software known as an appli…