I remember the time that I was rejected at interview.
I had applied for a job that I thought was my dream job. I felt so confident about it because when I read the person specification I KNEW I could do it and would enjoy it. I hadn’t planned for it to be full time, but I was drawn to it so much I was willing to make an exception.
I researched the company, practiced talking about my experience with my sister and felt a mixture of nervousness, excitement and worry on the day.
I was wearing my brand new shoes and interview outfit, and remember trying to avoid my little daughter’s sticky fingers all morning!
I walked into the interview and gave it my all, the best I had. There were two interviewers, one I felt really ‘got me’ and liked me, but the other, she didn’t smile once, I got the impression that she was threatened, because I went in with the strategy of “show em what I can do and don’t underplay”!
I came out of the interview feeling proud for getting through it. Relief that it was over and hope that I did enough.
The wait was excruciating! They had said that I would hear by the end of the week, it was Tuesday. It got to around Thursday and I had so much doubt, “If I had it, surely they would have told me by now” I said to myself. I tried to keep busy and not think about it – but it felt impossible.
It got to Friday around 4pm and I still heard nothing, my hope had almost evaporated except for one faint wisp of reasoning that “maybe they are leaving it till Monday, perhaps they are still making final decisions”. At this point my levels of annoyance and frustration were creeping up that I’d have to face the whole weekend not knowing; all while people asking me “have you heard yet!”
I was washing the pots at home when I got the call, a number I didn’t recognise. My heart was beating so fast. It started off positive, I was actually smiling, “You interviewed really well, you clearly have the experience and you came across really passionate ….. It was such a difficult decision but we offered it to another candidate, it was really close”.
The confirmation of not getting the position at this point didn’t come as a surprise but it hit me hard that the process of putting yourself out there, remaining ambitious and feeling hopeful was a cruel and heartless game.
I had a good chat with my sister that day, and it was after that I had a proper reflection; I had got shortlisted for a job that had many applicants, it was between me and someone else, which is pretty good going, the job was full time – I don’t really want a full time role, the process reminded me that I do want a fulfilling job and a career, and I don’t know how much truth there was to the explanation for not getting the job, my instincts told me the other person on the panel felt threatened by me.This learning spurred me to choose roles that I was more aligned to and to not compromise who I am at interview to please others.
The only thing you can do at interview is put your best foot forward, do yourself justice and match your relevant skills, experience, passion for the role and overall core offer to the employers needs and expectations. I did get my dream job shortly after this experience, but I know that my interview performance is strong. The chances of claiming the job you deserve at interview is less likely if you aren’t interviewing well. This experience could have sabotaged future applications and interviews because it did affect me emotionally.
Having a supportive community and a soundboard for what you can do to protect your confidence and resilience through the job application process is crucial, hence why I set up my two Facebook groups, The CV Success Academy and The Confident Woman’s Academy For Job Interview Success, why I have the free interview training that I do, the reason why I created The Interview Story Impression Technique and why I provide job application and interview success packages tailored to your personal career goals.
You CAN do it, and I’m here to help you if you feel ready, Follow, DM or check me out HERE, www.judybullimore.com
The standards for what your CV, cover letter or application form needs to include are set so high at the moment. Simply having the skills and experience isn’t enough to stand out from everyone else who also has similar skills and experience. That’s why ALL your application documents need to have these 5 points in EQUAL measure to truly stand out and increase your chances of being shortlisted;
1 – PASSION
A lot of applicants make the mistake on keeping their CV and application documents strictly factual listing mainly their skills and experience to do the job.The thing is, recruiters/ employers are sifting through application documents from candidates with very similar skills and experience, and ultimately they need to decipher which ones seem like the closest ‘fit’ or most deserving of the role. A way to convey this, is to show your passion!
Passion can be demonstrated in various ways;
– Passion for the JOB,
– Passion for the EMPLOYER.
– Passion for the ORGANISATIONAL vision.
It might only need to be a sentence or a paragraph that packs a punch of passion, but it helps to provide more insight into your unique contribution to the role.
2 – PERSONALITY
The strongest and most memorable application documents have a strong injection of PERSONALITY. With so much competition for job roles right now, a crucial thing to avoid is to appear the same as everyone else.What’s the one thing you have that know one else has? Your unique and one of a kind PERSONALITY!
A CV, application form or cover letter lacking in personality reads as generic and flat. By injecting your unique personality traits this naturally changes the tone and the overall feel of the document which in turn makes it more striking and engaging to read.
The strongest CV’s and applications leave a memorable positive impression leaving the recruiter intrigued to find out more.
3 – EXPERT STATUS
A major reason why candidates aren’t shortlisted for positions, is because they’re unclear of their “Expert Status” and their CV and application documents do not package and position them as an authority in their sector.
Expert Status is something that you’re not just good at, you’re KNOWN FOR doing exceptionally well. It’s the thing that you have a NATURAL flare for, something that uses the gifts that you were born with. It’s the thing that you can talk with true authority in and that you have developed your own unique structure or approach to.
4 – EVIDENCE
The art of a strong application is to make it appear to the employer that you have everything they need; the passion, personality, expertise and tangible PROOF that you can do the job. This takes the form of impressively strong examples.
Time and time again applications underplay achievements because they simply bullet point tasks and generic duties that would be likely any person who held a similar role could list. The most impressive application documents have examples of successes that STAND OUT and create a enough intrigue to make the person shortlisting intrigued and confident to put forward for interview.
5 – PRESENTATION
First impressions count just as much at application as at interview.It’s all well and good having the impressive examples to showcase, but this can be all undermined by poor presentation. Common mistakes in the design include;
– Appearing too wordy.
– Too busy.
– Too long.
– Reading generic, overly factual or dull.
– Relevant experience and achievements featured too far down the page, or not on the first page.
– Amateur looking CV’s.
– Not suiting the sector or level of position.
On the flip-side, CV’s could be perfectly presented, but have no substance upon reading, also, it’s important to watch out for ATS tracking systems. Simpler can be effective but word placement, tone and layout must be balanced.
By incorporating these 5 things in EQUAL measure within each job application or CV that you amend, you will have the STRONGEST chance of getting shortlisted for the jobs that you deserve.
Here is an honest guide on what interviewers REALLY think, but DIDN’T request in the invitation to interview.
1 – BE GENUINE
Interviewers expect for you to sell yourself, so in an interview you have a free pass to ‘sing your praises’ without judgment. However, the employer doesn’t want to risk their investment on someone who can’t deliver or is pretending they can deliver when they can’t.
Being GENUINE and your WONDERFUL SELF creates warmth and likability and most importantly CONNECTION. So in your next interview give yourself permission to be genuinely and authentically yourself!
2 – SELL YOUR EXPERTISE
You would have thought this is a given, that one would go to interview and showcase their suitability and evidence that they’re the best person for the job, however, UNDERSELLING expertise features very highly as a key reason why people lose out on job offers. In many cases candidates choose weak, unimpressive examples, or they talk about strong examples in a way that comes across unimpressive or flat.
To avoid this, having STRONG interview examples are of the utmost importance, so what makes a strong example?
– They have clear, impressive, TANGIBLE results.
– They showcase the BEST version of you at work, at the very TOP of your potential
– They are described as a CELEBRATION of your achievements, with a clear journey of HOW you achieved the result.
3 – BE IMPRESSIVE!
The interviewer could be scheduled to conduct interviews back to back all day. The last thing anyone wants is for the interviewer to be zoning out on when their lunch is, or subtly checking their watch because they’re bored and disconnected to the candidate before them. They WAN’T you to give them a performance, to grab this opportunity with both hands, they’re only going to give the job to the candidate they feel is most WORTHY, so appearing impressive is important.
A way to do yourself justice at interview is to change your whole approach towards them ….
Think back to when you have sat through the most dull and forgettable presentation. Now switch this and think of the most engaging, refreshing and memorable presentations. What was it that sticks in your mind? Did the presenter have a special something? … Personality, passion, conviction in their message perhaps?
An interview is very similar. It’s just like presenting on the topic that is YOU, but rather than relying on ‘slides’ you rely on the confidence in your abilities to bring the bullet points of your achievements, skills and successes to life!
4 – BRING YOUR PERSONALITY WITH YOU!
It’s a really common assumption to focus on your professional achievements for the purpose of an interview, and stick strictly to work experience and relevant skills for the job. BUT, the job of the interviewer is to work out the best candidate for their position and they’re not going to be able to do this without working out what the person is REALLY about.
The employer would have attempted to state the “type” of person that they’re looking for, so assuming you are already aligned to the role, you have permission to demonstrate these traits at interview.
It is difficult to showcase personality, if you don’t know your PERSONAL BRAND, but like marketing and promoting a product, it’s important the interviewer can FEEL what you represent, what offer you bring and why they should “buy” into you. Having inner confidence in the authentic version of yourself will really help to achieve this, as will dialing up your personality to 100%.
5 – THEY’RE NOT BOTHERED ABOUT HOW YOU ANSWER THE QUESTION!
So many people have gone into an interview with the strong examples, the personality, the confidence and the performance but thought that they HAD to answer the question in a certain way, such as using the STAR interview technique where they describe the Situation, Task, Action and Result. This is an outdated assumption and needs to be updated, in that the interviewer isn’t concerned about the order of the answer, they just want the candidate to answer the question in FULL, in a way that clearly demonstrates what the candidate achieved and how they did it, while being impressed, engaged and connected.
The interview technique that you choose is the MEANS that will enable you to communicate everything that the employer wants to see, feel and hear at interview, as well as enabling you to showcase all your skills, attributes personality and passion for the role. So the question that you need to ask yourself is …..
Does the technique I use currently enable me to;
– Talk naturally and authentically?
– Bring my examples to life?
– Showcase expert status, personal brand and the a clear offer for the employer?
– Sound and look impressive?
If the answer is “no” in any of these areas, your technique could be sabotaging your interviews, so choose one that works for YOU such as my INTERVIEW STORY IMPRESSION TECHNIQUE .
Check out the interview training tab for more details.