Getting a job these days is anything but easy for many people. Interviews are laden with increasingly strange requirements (double date with the would-be boss, anyone?) — or sometimes take months without a positive result.
So, what, exactly must jobseeker do to land a position? It’s a topic several LinkedIn Influencers wrote about this week.
Their insights ranged from interview tactics that works for both recent college graduates and senior executives, to what to say when a headhunter calls and even highlighted the best tactic for landing a job that almost nobody is using. Here’s what some of them had to say.
James Citrin, Leader, CEO Practice at Spencer Stuart
Citrin was giving interview advice to a senior-level executive when he realised “that my counsel to her was almost identical to what I had advised a college senior preparing for his upcoming job interview just a couple of days earlier,” he wrote in his post The Undercover Interviewer: My Single Best Interview Tip.
The tip? “Don’t just answer questions. Tell a narrative,” he wrote. “That is, establish a coherent thread, a story, throughout your interview and have your answers connect in a way that make sense to the interviewer and that he or she will remember.”
Citrin anticipated that the senior level executive would be asked the common question “walk me through your career.” Citrin’s advice to her: reframe the question by first sharing what she believed to be the most important values and priorities for the company.
“In doing this she could demonstrate her insights about the company and that she had indeed done her homework. She would also project strength and confidence to take charge without being aggressive, and most importantly, it would give her the clues about exactly what parts of her career she should pull out as part of her narrative,” he wrote.
“The key to effective interviewing is to be savvy about what it is that the interviewer is looking for — through doing your homework before the interview and effective listening during — and then weaving your answers to questions in a narrative with brief anecdotes that illustrate how what you've done matches what's most important to the company,” Citrin wrote.
JT O’Donnell, Founder and chief executive officer at Careerealism.com
One question O’Donnell gets often: I’ve applied to hundreds of jobs and get no responses. They often say: “I tailor my resume for each one and send a professional cover letter explaining how my skills meet their requirements, but still, I get nothing. What am I doing wrong,” she wrote in her post Best Way to Get a Job Nobody’s Using.
The mistake? “Doing what everyone else is: going through the job search motions, but not really getting in the game. With that many people competing for the same positions using the exact same marketing approach, no wonder the results are dismal,” she wrote.
So what can a jobseeker do to stand out? First, O’Donnell advised, “open up and strategically share your passion.” What does that mean? One example, she wrote, is a jobseeker who wanted a job at file-sharing site Dropbox “so badly, he built a webpage and a video to show them his abilities and commitment to the position. He poured some major passion into his application as a way to showcase his capacity to work hard and be creative,” she wrote.
Of course, there’s a line between passion and fanaticism or being “crazy or silly just to grab attention,” she wrote. “The key is to articulate and provide examples that prove you are a member of the employer's tribe. It's not enough to say you are a fan, you need to show that you understand how you will add value — enough value to justify the cost of hiring you.”
Rajat Taneja, executive vice president of technology at Visa
“When the headhunter calls, it is easy to get carried away by the enthusiasm and pitch for the new role,” Taneja, who recently left Electronic Arts for the position at Visa, wrote in his post When the Headhunter Calls. “The choices we make in these crucial moments can profoundly impact our careers, our family and, most importantly, our contributions to our industry and society at large.”
What’s the best way to handle the call — and decide if you want to consider making a move? Find your core philosophy about your career and your life and apply it to your thinking process. For Taneja, the philosophy is: “I will only work for companies I admire, with people who inspire me and on endeavours that have a meaningful impact.”
“It’s always easy to go for the next big shiny thing, to pursue a bigger title or try to get the bigger salary,” wrote Taneja of the temptation to simply respond with exuberance to the recruiter’s call without thought. “But if you are not happy with the work and the people with whom you will spend the majority of your waking hours, then none of the other stuff matters.”
Once you have your core philosophy for your career in mind, ask yourself if the job, the company, the people you’ll work with match up to that philosophy before you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the recruiter.