Oh, how I love this question. When people tell me that they’ve never had an interview when they didn’t get an offer, I ask only one question: “How long ago was your last job search?”
Because the whole hiring process isn’t quite as straightforward as you might have experienced it in the past. Even seasoned, confident job-seekers are getting thrown off their game and not getting offers after one, two or even three separate interviews (often with interview panels or interviews with multiple team members.)
Clients are being asked to prepare presentations, answer additional pre-interview questions, attend group interviews with other candidates and prepare case studies ahead of time. If it’s been a while since you last interviewed, it will be a different experience than you’ve had in the past.
Depending on who you ask, it’s estimated that the interview-to-getting-a-job-offer ratio is about 7:1.
Depending on who you ask, it’s estimated that the interview-to-getting-a-job-offer ratio is about 7:1. And if you’re like most of my clients, you’ll have hit-and-miss interview experiences. There will be those where you felt you had a great connection with the interviewer(s), an awkward interview where you wonder if you were interviewed for the right job, and then the interview that you can’t get a read on how you did.
Time for a job interview reality check: Your first interview isn’t going to be your only and last interview.
OK, so now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what do you need to do to get more interviews? What I’m seeing work is a combination of targeted marketing materials and networking. I won’t say too much about targeted marketing materials here – just that it’s no coincidence that I recently created a Marketing Materials Makeover course.
Targeted marketing materials get noticed. It’s that simple.
Networking. I know that makes some of you go, “Ugh!” Can you not network and still get a job? Sure. You can just apply for jobs online. (And when you get frustrated with the black hole, lack of response, no signs of life that you’ll likely encounter, I’ll meet you back here.)
If you’re networking-adverse, think of it this way: Networking is a short term pain for a long term gain. Networking absolutely gives you a competitive advantage. If you invest the same amount of time with networking versus applying for jobs online, you’ll get more interviews. Maybe not immediately, but over time.
Here’s how networking is essential to your search as a competitive advantage:
One is the obvious access it gives you to the all-too-important insider information that will help you target your marketing materials.
Two is that networking often leads to a referral, and it seems like progressive companies often interview referrals — regardless of whether or not the referral is a top pick.
Three, networking raises your visibility, which automatically increases the likelihood that you’ll be at the right place at the right time. This might mean learning about an opportunity before it’s widely shared, or having a hiring manager come across your LinkedIn profile before he/she formally opens a position.
Four, networking forces you to think about your marketability, your target audience and find ways to relate your career story to both. This not only benefits your search, but will help you during the interview process as well.
Got a burning question for this career coach? Send it my way. If it’s on your mind, others are thinking it too.