The process of landing a job can be pleasant – but applicants should know that it can also be a long and arduous process typically comprising of research, submitting of applications and/or resumes, and participating in testing and interviews. MAKE THE BEST OF IT and PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD at all times. There are many unwritten protocols that tend to govern the overall job search process. In the current, rapidly changing employment market, KEEP A REALISTIC PERSPECTIVE on what to expect and stay focused and “real”, remaining authentic to your offering, goal, and desired outcome.
The Recruitment & Selection Process
Choosing to hire is a serious and significant business decision for any organization. Employees add considerable costs to a company’s overhead, as well as to its potential liabilities. Start-ups and going concerns alike have limited resources – and every additional or replacement employee must be carefully considered.An organization’s sustainability is either measured according to its profits and losses or in comparison to its prescribed budget. As such, the cost of unnecessary hiring and/or hiring the wrong person can be detrimental to an organization’s bottom line.It’s not surprising therefore that before even engaging in the recruitment process, management clearly articulates the organization’s operational requirements, projected revenues and business goals and determines also the types of skills and competencies required to meet those needs.While a job candidate is reasonably more familiar with the interview and selection processes, an employer views the recruitment and selection process as a more comprehensive and involved exercise having a number of steps. It is beneficial for a candidate to understand the origins of the prospect role that they are applying for recognizing that the following steps generally constitute, from the perspective of the employer, the main elements in the recruitment, selection and hiring process:
- Identify vacancy and evaluate need;
- Develop specifications, position description, and supporting tools;
- Develop recruitment plan – identifying in particular how to source qualified candidates;
- Strike search committee and/or selection panel;
- Create well-defined selection criteria for use in screening candidates and preparing interview questions;
- Post position and implement recruitment plan;
- Review applications and develop candidate short list;
- Conduct interviews;
- Identify finalist(s);
- Perform reference check(s);
- Administer pre-employment testing and checks as appropriate;
- Identify hire;
- Extend offer and secure candidate availability; and,
- Finalize recruitment activity (i.e. inform HR/payroll, notify other candidates, announce, etc.).
Employers Have Expectations – What Gets You the Job
It goes without saying that potential employers will be looking for core competencies when attempting to fill a vacancy. Of course, these will be dictated by the responsibilities of the job and will comprise of requirements that will include at a minimum such attributes as:
- Education and/or training;
- Job-related skills (ex. technical, computer, interpersonal, communication, etc.)
Importantly also, employers will typically have formalized what they expect candidates to demonstrate through the application or interview process. Things that may not be necessarily be revealed by job specification or posting process – and things that are often difficult to communicate by a candidate through formal written submission. While these will vary from one job to another, it is reasonable that a prospective employer will wish to see in its candidates such characteristics as:
- Adaptability – Fit;
- Reliability & responsiveness;
- A desire to learn and to excel;
- Sound judgement; and,
- Ability to work autonomously and in groups.
Not intended to represent an exhaustive list, different jobs and different employers will be looking to satisfy implicit and explicit criteria related to the above (and possibly more) and will be guided also by the work culture and desired ‘soft skills’ standards or norms.Perhaps a little overwhelming at first blush, it is encouraging and comforting to acknowledge that there exists some convention to what is being sought from position to position and from one employer to another – perhaps to different degrees, but nevertheless having an almost common resemblance through the market. For example, a department manager will be expected to be reliable due to responsibility for such duties as store lock-up or inventory management; but that hardly implies that a first-line customer service associate need not be reliable – just reliable in a different context.
The Interview Process
While germane to whole job application process, candidates need appreciate that an interview is a genuine opportunity to sell your abilities and to impress upon the recruiters your suitability to join the organization.Putting your best foot forward in the interview process means:
- If for no other reason than to bolster your confidence and to show respect – “DRESS UP RATHER THAN DRESS DOWN”;
- Learning as much as you can about the company and its market through observation, investigation, and online resources/references (what do they do? are there leaders in the field, and if so who are they? what about the competition?);
- Making sure that you are prepared to demonstrate that you have researched the company and know its history, its future plans, its department heads or leaders, etc.;
- Establishing rapport with the interviewer(s);
- Listening very carefully – Do not assume that you comprehend everything the interviewer is saying and do look for queues and clues;
- Being aware of your vocabulary – make sure that your choice of words is clear and appropriate – communication skills are extremely important and count significantly toward the impression made;
- Not talking unnecessarily – Less is sometimes more – If you go on about yourself, you may not be answering the real question and may fail to demonstrate that you are qualified for the role; and,
- Being forthcoming and charming (within reason) – don’t make the interviewer chase the answers and do be engaging.
- Being AMICABLE!
When presenting yourself, be mindful of the interviewer’s style or personality, and be mindful also of how you represent who you really are. The best approach is to be your authentic self. Personalities vary widely, so in your job search, it’s more about finding an appropriate match between the employer’s needs and your qualities. If you are qualified for the opening, present genuinely, and believe wholesomely that you are the right fit, the interview will go much better….and you will more likely hit it off with the interviewer.
The job search can be a challenging and sometimes lengthy process. It’s, therefore, better to plan and to manage the process and your expectations. Don’t forget to always put your best foot forward and to THANK prospective employers and interviewers; whether you expect to get the job or not – it’s the courteous and responsible thing to do.