Do you remember your job searching days? Attending on average 5 interviews a week…sending CVs around as if they were Christmas Cards…hoping that one is going to land on the right desk…half of them you don’t even receive a response of any kind.
The Job Search
I’ll never forget it. 18 years old. Young, with huge plans, looking for a chance to prove how good I am. I put on my best suit – or what pieces I could put together that would resemble a suit. I would get there about 1 hour before the scheduled appointment. So, I walk around the block, waiting for the moment of truth to arrive. By the way…it’s mid-August! OK, it’s time. I go in. 5 minutes later I’m out again.
What on earth just happened? Don’t know...don’t care…don’t worry…tomorrow I have another interview anyways. This scenario kept repeating itself for a few weeks, to some people I know, even months. Then as if out of no where, I receive a phone call at home. It’s a company I had sent my CV to months back. They said they’re looking for someone and would like to meet me.
By this time, I wasn’t putting my hopes up of course, but I went anyways. It seemed like a dream. A great job…decent salary…nice people…relaxing environment! This was somewhere I could definitely see myself starting a career. Does the above scenario seem familiar? To most people I talk to it does. But where are we trying to get to?
The 80/20 Principle
A few weeks ago a friend of mine forwarded me a book, entitled The 80/20 Principle – The Secret of Achieving More With Less. Immediately we saw the potential of applying this principle in attending interviews, and also in our recruitment/selection work. This 80/20 Principle (aka Pareto’s Law) states that 80% of your effort gives you 20% of the results, and conversely 20% of your efforts give you 80% of the results.
During the interview
During interviews it’s important to keep in mind the fact that you, the job seeker, are not the only one being interviewed. You should also interview the guy sitting in front of you…your interviewer! That’s right! Don’t you want to know whom you might be working for? What kind of office environment prevails? What kind of person is he/she? Does he/she posses integrity? Can this company give you the salary you are after? Can they offer you a chance of prospering your career?
These are all questions you have to ask. But we can take it a step further. Find out the answers to these questions, before sending an application or CV.
You see where this 80/20 Principle fits in now? Screen your future employer, before he screens you! This way, you are eliminating those companies you would not be able to fit in, reduce the number of fruitless interviews, and start working towards those interviews which you are almost sure you can get something out of.
Now, I bet you’re asking, but How? Good question. It’s not easy, however with a few guidelines and tips we’ll be able to help do just that!
Last time we talked about the importance of screening the vacancies you are going to apply for, before actually applying. This way you can avoid attending countless interviews for jobs which will not suit you. Today, we are going to look at some ways of actually doing this.
Talk With People
Probably, the most effective way of finding out about a prospective employer is by talking with people who either currently work there or have worked there in the past. These people have directly experienced the working environment, and know exactly what your prospective employer and work place are all about.
However, make sure you take into consideration biasness. Let’s assume that you are talking with a person who is still employed by this company. If this person occupies a high position, he/she is not going to pass you any negative viewpoints. He/she might be afraid of the consequences, or else might have taken part in shaping the negative aspects of the company. On the other, if the person used to be employed by the company in the past, make sure you know the exact reason why he/she is not employed there anymore. An ex-employee with a grunge is not exactly the most objective person.
But above all, talk with people you trust – someone that does not have a selfish interest in you being or not being employed there.
Research The Company
What is the past history of the company? How long ago was the company established? Are the directors reputable? How long has the vacancy been open? These are all important questions that need to be tackled. Information can be obtained from various sources other people, local media, directories, etc.. The history of the vacancy is especially important. If the vacancy has been advertised for a long period time, or else for short periods but a number of times, it probably is a sign of a high turnover. People are being attracted by the vacancy, but then leave for whatever reason. Use this as a caution sign.
Call Your Prospective Employer
Why not call the person/company directly? If an operator answers the phone, ask to talk with the head of the department which concerns your vacancy. Be straight forward. Tell the person you are interested in submitting an application, but would like more information first. And don’t let the first question be about salary.
Seek Advice From A Professional
Sometime it’s best to seek professional help. Especially if you want to approach specific companies and are worried about confidentiality you could use a recruitment agency to act as a liaison. Such companies are bound by law to maintain absolute confidentiality, and will not forward any personal information without your explicit permission.
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