The internet is an amazing thing. Google 'interview tips' or 'resume tips' and you will be bombarded with advice. Whilst positive, helpful and a good reference point for those with little experience, most 'tips' seem to be common sense and not that insightful or original.
We want our candidates to have an edge and hence we have come up with our 'extra 10%' that we think can complement your job search. Like most things in life it is the extra 10% of effort and insight that brings the reward, not the first 90-100%. Think about what gets you FITTER? It's not doing exactly the same thing over and over again is it? It's actually going BEYOND your normal boundaries that will get you extraordinary results.
The following is the Keegan Adams 'extra 10%' that we think can make a difference to your search and give you an edge over your peers. None of the 10 points are 'text book' (hence you won't find them on your Google search or other web sites!) and some you won't agree with or might feel uncomfortable with, but we firmly believe they can make a difference to your chances of securing 'that' opportunity. They will not guarantee success but they will increase your chances. We hope you find them thought provoking and interesting.
If you require more information on any individual point please feel free to contact a Keegan Adams Consultant.
Finding a new job is a job! Never do it half heartedly once you have decided why and what you want. Anything but 110% focus on your job search is a compromise. Why study all those years and work so hard only to compromise a job search. Go about your search as professionally, if not more professionally, as you do your current job. Make sacrifices. Don't make one application one week and then one the next. Focus on condensing the process as much as possible, partly for comparison and decision making purposes.
Keep track of everything that you have applied for, whether you can remember them in your head or if you need help with an excel spreadsheet. Know which companies / recruiters have your information and remember what job and why you applied for it, so you don’t get caught off guard if you are called for a follow up to your application.
Throughout the process maintain your focus on your current job. DO NOT let your attitude slip to your current employer. A negative spiral can easily be fallen into. This has to be avoided and is not in your best interests or anyone else's. The known and unknown consequences of this in the future can be profound.
Use that thing called a TELEPHONE!
Making contact at some point in the interview process is rare these days. We are not advocating harassment (!) but you do need to be a real person with a real voice and face! Less than 15% of applicants make these calls.
To ensure you stand out from the pack we always advise calling 1-2 days after submitting your application. This means that the person managing the role can open your resume as a reference point during the phonecall. This can fast track your application process and helps you to ask genuine questions relevant to your suitability.
NEVER start your covering letter with ‘My name is.....’ Whilst this is well meaning it is not professional. Far too many cover letters still start in this manner. Whilst you may think that this is a very small element of your overall application it has zero benefit, and in some circumstances can actually be terminal. We know several employers who will press delete immediately on viewing this, and as such the relevant parts of your application could then be completely overlooked. Actually invest the time in writing a short but sharp cover letter detailing your interest and suitability for the role – and make sure you state the right role rather then sending something generic for each application.
In your resume make everything proportional to its importance. Your 3 month McDonald’s stint in 1996 whilst worthy of a one line mention should not take up the same space/lineage as your current position. (That is unless you are wanting a position back at McDonald's). Even the most experienced candidates can make similar mistakes. WORK OUT what is important in any particular application and then modify your resume accordingly. Try and keep your resume to 1-2 pages if you have less than 10 years experience and no more then 3 if you have more.
There is nothing worse than running late to an interview and starting the meeting feeling flustered and embarrassed. Always check your route before the interview and make sure you get there in plenty of time – 5 minutes early is great. Any earlier or later can looks disrespectful of the interviews time. If you are running late, call in advance and be honest and apologetic.
The interview process has changed drastically over the years – videos, assessment centres, panel interviews, role plays have all been designed to make the process more extensive and give a better insight into who you are. Despite all of this, a huge weight is still (consciously or subconsciously) placed on non-verbal impressions, with the most common being;
67% of candidates fail to make eye contact
38% don’t smile
33% have bad posture
26% have a weak handshake
21% play with their hair and touch their face regularly
21% cross arms across their chest
Whilst you are probably cringing having done at least one of the above at some point, the key is to ensure you are trying not to, despite the nerves.
Above anything, the absolute no-no’s are:
Try to find some commonality with the interviewer without coming across as too personal. Display a genuine, not false, interest in what the interviewer is saying. Don’t interrupt, but do agree/debate with intelligent commentary, thoughts or insights.
VERY few people think about this as a way to stand out. Throughout your job search you must be 110% up on current affairs and relevant industry news or knowledge. Many candidates turn up to an interview having spent no time researching the employer or recent news in that industry – BIG mistake.
Read the Google news/online newspapers daily during your search. Do not allow yourself to be caught out in this way or you could look very average. Be ready for anything that is thrown at you but NEVER regurgitate standard answers (i.e. your weaknesses is you are a perfectionist!).
Be informed, interested and inquisitive about their business.
Ask 2 high quality questions and remember them! Two good examples are;
1: ’In your experience of working at X (employer) what are the key attitudes, attributes and skills that make a great Y (Job type you are interviewing for)’. This question in part will get the interviewer to talk about their own experiences and you should then be able to demonstrate how you and your background match what they have just said to make the perfect Y. Very simple technique but it works! Through this question you should also be able to find out how they view their own firm, positive, negative, progressive, conservative etc. All good information for you.
2: Investigate their business or industry and ask a VERY topical or insightful question regarding the company or industry in question. Ask them what their opinion on this matter is? Where ever possible, ensure that this question will lead to a positive answer or discussion.
Be positive throughout the interview and be sincere not ‘fluffy’. Finish strongly with your last question, and remember to ALWAYS have a strong handshake and make them know that you have appreciated their time today.
As you are leaving just post handshake, ask the Interviewer when you will be hearing from them or what might be the next step in the recruitment process.
If you want the job, make sure they know it! People want to hire someone that wants to work for them, and is going to be enthusiastic.
Make good decisions, not just easy decisions.
If you want to optimise your recruitment search and hence improve your opportunities in broader life then you must be continually thinking and challenging yourself. Think long term, not short term to ensure you meet your career goals.