Years ago, when I was looking for a change of job, I went through a ‘bad patch’. I applied for lots of jobs, many way above my experience or skills level at that time, as well as jobs I was definitely qualified for and with some experience. I had one interview after another for these jobs and was rejected for them all.
I became disheartened, discouraged and demoralised. Why wasn’t I getting these jobs? I knew in some cases that I was probably not anywhere near experienced at the level of seniority required for some but there were others I should have easily been successfully appointed to.
Finally, I had had enough. I went for two jobs in the same week. The first was in Central London and, although the job sounded very interesting, the travel and the salary weren’t ideal. I had by now decided I would just be me and not try and work out what it was I should say or do to impress.
The other job was more local and also very interesting. I went into this interview with ‘attitude’ – if they didn’t like me then so be it but I wasn’t going to put on an act. I knew I was experienced and qualified for the post.
The defining moment in this interview was when I was asked that regularly wheeled out interview question, ‘So what do you feel you can bring to the team?’
Without stopping to think about the potential consequences I answered, “Well, I always want to say cakes when I am asked this question but I don’t think this is what you are after, so……..” (followed by the usual list of attributes an interviewer would be expecting).
I was successful in both these interviews. Why? Well, I stopped trying to mould myself into what I believed was wanted and I relied instead on my self belief that I was good enough. My confidence came through, as well as my personality and sense of humour and I believe this gave me the edge over the other applicants. Obviously, I gave the correct responses to questions but I also let a bit of ‘me’ shine through.
I accepted the second job and remained there for almost 12 very happy years.
Since then, I have become proficient in teaching people about interview techniques, how to answer the usual questions and how to prepare for an interview, building on their own personality and positive attributes. Possibly, had I known this when I was desperately looking for a job, I may have been successful with the other applications. However, since leaving that job, I have not failed an interview.
I have coached a range of professionals and non-qualified staff looking to change their career and helped with interview skills and techniques, which has given me great pleasure, particularly since all those I have coached have been successful at interview.
If you would like some coaching or advice on how to succeed at interviews, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a session or for more information on my services