Some maintain there has never been a wider gulf between employers and job candidates than there is right now. While this is debatable, there can be no doubt job hunting in the 21st century bears little to no resemblance to the job hunts of the previous century. The potential for misunderstanding between manager and future employee is high, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some things employers would like their candidates to know.
Honesty is Still the Best Policy
Employers want the best people in the right jobs. To make sure that happens, they need their job candidates to be truthful about their goals and their skills. Even if a particular candidate might not be perfect for the job they were called to interview about, they may be perfect for a job they haven’t been notified about yet. Without an accurate idea what experience and skills they have, that alternative placement can’t happen.
The best employers who have the best jobs to offer expect to be challenged, questioned and engaged by their future employees. It is a signal to them that the employee is both interested and motivated, and it usually provides more opportunity for the employer and employee to gauge each others personalities and the responsibilities of the job. Candidates who refuse to ask questions and subsequently don’t engage don’t get these opportunities.
Be Prepared to Talk Weaknesses
The inexperienced interviewee will always betray themselves by seeking to portray themselves as perfect. When presented with a question aimed at their weak spots, they often become nervous and fall back on the cliche answers trying to spin a positive into a negative, like “I’m a workaholic!” or “I’m a perfectionist!”. According to Lifehacker, “The truth is, just stop. Every interviewer everywhere has heard it before, and would rather you just be honest.” Weaknesses should be acknowledged and described in a frank no-nonsense manner. If your future boss thinks you have a handle on your own limitations, they are far more likely to trust you in a pressure situation. If you have to give a flippant answer try “interviews” at least that way you are presenting a semi-excuse that might improve their perception of you if you really are doing poorly. The only time this might not work so well, is if the position you are interviewing for is in sales or some other type of position that requires lots of face-to-face client contact.
Dump the Objective
Resume objectives are like mission statements. It gives you something to say at the beginning of a speech and has little meaning otherwise. The faster you can get to the point the faster you can start discussing something important, like the job and its responsibilities. If you want to start your presentation with something, make it funny. At least that will be entertaining.
Your Accomplishments Count
Candidates should be careful they aren’t omitting their accomplishments in favor of their qualifications. It is a subtle distinction but it is tremendously important from the employer’s point of view. You really want to make sure that you include all of your success in schooling. Things like taking and completing off-line or even online MBA programs can be helpful when you are looking for a job. Employers are always looking at your accomplishments and level of education.
But you should also include extra-curricular activities, clubs, volunteer positions, and even things you’ve accomplished in hobbies such as running a 10k, hiking 20 miles or knitting a baby blanket for your niece.
Job searches should not be confusing or stressful. Emphasize the right things and answer the right questions, and you’ll find your success level rises quickly.
Image courtesy of Ambro @ freedigitalphotos.net
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