In most cases, when you read a job advertisement, you will quickly identify whether you have the skills to suit the role or not. I know there are occasions where the job advert is so vague it is hard to know what exactly is required. Up to this point it is easy to qualify yourself in or out for the role. However, the tricky part comes when selected for interview, the whole picture changes.
At interview, a lot of additional requirements tend to come into play which were never mentioned in the original job advertisement. So, what happens?
A personal encounter arises i.e. the interview, which brings about a lot more influences into the selection process.
You can take for granted that the qualifications and essential requirements will do so much to support you to get the job. But it is these additional requirements not necessarily mentioned on the job specification will take you over the line and secure the role!
Time and time again the feedback I get from unsuccessful candidates make up some of these additional requirements and do need thinking about before entering a recruitment process.
I would say one of the most desirable traits that employers are seeking nowadays is “Common Sense”
Common Sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand and judge things that are shared by the majority. So, it does make sense that employers want to bring someone into their business that will be harmonious with other people. This is not to say employers don’t value individuality, they do but they also need someone who can be switched on, take an interest in others and be alert to read situations happening around them so they are available to row in with the majority if necessary. Common Sense is becoming more and more compromised by the growing culture of excessive individualism.
“Hit the ground running” This is one of the oldest used phrases in recruitment but it is still in vogue! (although it sounds sore if you hit the ground at speed …) It is supposed to mean to immediately work hard and successfully at a new activity. Really what employers want is someone who can pick up new tasks fast, adapt quickly so they make a contribution immediately. The characteristic trait that you would possess is an innate ability to adapt to new scenarios.
Know your own career path – Some of us may not have been fortunate enough to have had an earlier nurturing of our career paths. But it is never too late to start thinking about this. Looking at where you are now and where you want to go. Can you tell your story (keep it brief) in such a way that is clear, concise, your learnings / recognise the benefits of the past and how all this will take you forward now on your career path? You don’t need to be on a perfect career path but you do need to be 100% clear where you are with your career.
Know yourself! I am not talking about some deep spiritual or soulful exploration, although this may help to get down to the nitty gritty to find the answers! Essentially what you need to know is what are your strengths and weaknesses? Can you know your strengths and can you be brave enough to look at your weaknesses? Can you value both qualities?? The more you identify these qualities, the more you will get on the right track to knowing yourself. Employers are looking for people who know what they are good at. Equally, they need to know within reason that a potential new hire can recognise their weaknesses too. Your task is to instil confidence in the employer that you are in charge of both qualities.
Ambitious and driven – do you care about where you are going with your career and do you want to achieve success for yourself? Can you define success for yourself? If you do not think about this, then how will it be for you to join an ambitious and growing company? Do you align yourself enough with the environment you are looking to join? Do your values match the values of the company you are interviewing with?
Sound and grounded – easier said than done in an unauthentic world. There is something about grounded individuals: they are easy to be around and straight forward to interact with. No wonder employers like this – there would be a lot less employee relations if there was more grounded companies and employees.
Problem Solver – this is typically listed on the job specification but it has many deeper meanings that goes beyond how it is phrased on the job specification. In our age of easy access and an abundance of information, we are laden down with noise from everywhere. How, then, can anyone be an effective problem solver in these times? How can one both maintain a sustainable creative contribution at work and equally in one’s own personal life? A problem solver is an all-rounder, someone who has a good grasp of themselves and their capabilities and can add value. They are capable of clearing the noises that surrounds them so they can really solve problems and think ahead.
So, before you launch yourself into that next interview, have a think about are you ready to embrace those questions? Preparation goes a long way to getting that job and I would recommend to start this preparation every day you go to work and outside of work. By doing this, when the interview arises, you will have already put in the groundwork and you will be ready.
Barbara Donnellan is the Banking & Finance Manager at Eden Recruitment. She has been working in the recruitment sector since 2000.