Q: I am going for a job interview next week and I’m pretty sure I fit the bill. However, I fear my lack of technology experience will come against me. I’m not that bad on technology but I have never used it much in the workplace. I’m told the technology required in this instance can be learned easily, but I’m afraid they will over state it in the interview when they see my deficiency? In this case, the technology is only a means to an end. There are far more important criteria, and I am very strong in the areas that really matter. In fact, I think they will struggle to get someone more suitable than me given my background in this sector. What should I do? (RC, email).
A: This is a good question to consider because sometimes relatively unimportant things are allowed to play a disproportionate role in an interview, writes Mary Reale, Career Coach, Slí Nua Careers. Panellists – and candidates – can fixate on the wrong things.
Your challenges are to believe in, and transmit, your suitability for the position while making them see the technology for what it is.
It sounds like you can certainly do the job and that’s what you have to get across. Show them the key merits you possess, be those interpersonal skills, a good understanding of the sector, contacts within the industry or whatever else is relevant.
An approach I often encourage clients to take in a situation like this is to ask themselves the question: will the area in which you are deficient still be a worry in two months? Or can you learn it quickly enough and then bring your other attributes to bear?
Given that you are confident you can get up to speed on the technology, and that you feel you enjoy other advantages over your rivals, you must make those very points in the interview. Be explicit.
The panel, too, have got to see that the technology is, as you say, merely a means to an end. If, in two months’ time, your technology skills will be at a sufficient level to get the job done effectively, why would they appoint the wrong person now?
Jobs are for longer than two months.
Let them see that once you conquer the technology, you will fly. Sell them that picture. I don’t know your sector or the exact the strengths you possess – my advice is to be very clear about what success will look like when you get into your stride. Facts and figures. In the grander scheme of things, two months is a negligible period.
Shine the light in the right place so they can see your long-term value – not the short-term gain of hiring somebody who would hit the ground running now, but, to prolong the metaphor, might just run out of road at the very point when you’d be coming into your own.
Reassure them that you will learn the technology, including taking whatever courses are necessary. Don’t dismiss the technology as being totally unimportant. It’s clearly not.
Rather depict it as something that will help you to flourish in the role – but that, ultimately, the other areas are where the real deciding factors lie and that’s where you excel.
Mary Reale is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers in Tralee, Co. Kerry.
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