Q: This is sort of an ‘asking for a friend’ question, if you know what I mean. Of all the things people do poorly when preparing – or failing to prepare – for interviews, which, in your experience, is the most grievous? Is there one that you encounter repeatedly? (DF, email).
A: I might give you a different answer next week, but…the biggest shortcoming exhibited by candidates going for interview is the failure to fully research the job they are chasing. By ‘job’, I mean the company, organisation or the actual job itself, writes Liam Horan, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.
A few phone calls or meetings can make such a difference. In Ireland, people know people, we are a tightly-knit society in that regard and there really is no excuse for turning up knowing very little about the job.
When you’ve done your research, you can drop all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle nuggets into the interview. If you’ve looked way beyond the job spec, you should know exactly what they’re seeking – and, in this way, tailor your answers to meet their needs.
Not everything is contained in the job spec. And the website is often the company putting on its best face and may not reflect the reality behind the scenes. Plus everybody sees the job spec and the website. By merely looking at those, however closely, you are still only putting yourself in the same position as your opponents.
The trick is to go much further. Make calls to people who work(ed) there. Or talk to people working in a similar company. Make a point of meeting somebody who knows the sector inside out – perhaps a journalist who covers this area, or somebody who has built a similar business locally or elsewhere.
You can do loads. It’s often boring and unfashionable work, but as you go along, patterns will emerge and you will feel much more confident on the day of the interview.
Liam Horan is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers in Ballinrobe.
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