Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Job search

I have 10 days left to complete thirteen years, one month and one day working the same company. If I have learnt anything from the past thirteen years, and more specifically from my search to find another position it is this:

Never take your eyes off the job market.

It is important to know what jobs are available and you never know when an even more perfect opportunity will arise, and if nothing else, you will keep up to date on what skill sets are being required. In this way you can keep honing your own skills to meet the trending marketplace.

Apply for at least three jobs per year, even if you have no plan to change employment. 

If all you get is a phone screen, this is good practice, and hopefully you will get at least one interview. The interview process varies so vastly from company to company, and there is a distinct fashion in interview questions and styles. Thus, if and when you decide to move on, you, and your resume, will require very little extra work.

One of the hidden disadvantages of staying in one company as long as I have is that you get stuck in a rut, you are almost completely blind to the changes going on in the working world outside your currently employment and this will work against you in interviews. Regular interview practice will help to keep you in tune with the world.

Serious about changing your job?

I am a thinker and a writer, an introvert. I have always felt that I am not very good at presenting myself at interviews and, as a result, I have had very many interviews where I came out knowing that I messed up. You know that feeling? 'Why did I say that?! I know what I should have said'. But after the interview is way too late.

Below are a number of things I have picked up, either from my research prior to interviews or from personal experience both as an interviewer and an interviewee.

  • Prepare for your interview as you would for an exam.
  • The single most important thing is be honest - never lie about your skills or experience
  • Turn off your mobile phone
  • Arrive early - most definitely do not be late
  • Don't be afraid to ask for water if it is not offered, believe me you will need it.
  • Dress appropriately - it is OK to ask what the expected dress code is at the time the interview is being scheduled
  • Research the company
  • Know the specific position you are applying for
  • If possible, speak to people who have interviewed at that company
  • If you don't know anyone who has, there is a lot of information on the Internet ( on this
  • Don't let all of the reports on a company phase you, remember that a lot of these will be from disgruntled people. Ever noticed how only those people who are dissatisfied write reviews?
  • In the first few minutes an interviewer's opinion of you is formed on how you look, act and sound, not what you actually say
  • Watch your body language
  • Listen 
  • Relax - remember they are not trying to prove you are wrong for the job, they want you be right 
  • Don't talk too much and don't interrupt 
  • Prepare answers for the main questions: why do you want the job, what are your strengths and weaknesses, where do you want to be in 5 years
  • In particular, be prepared to answer what your weaknesses are with a weakness that is not going to adversely affect the position you are applying for, and follow up with what you are doing to try to correct that - don't labor the point.
  • Be prepared with a list of examples of things you have done in previous positions that illustrate your abilities
  • Make sure you understand each question and take your time if you need to think
  • Be positive about yourself and your experiences
  • Prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview 
  • Finally, if you are asked how you would solve a specific problem, at least try. Don't say you don't know, don't try to figure it out silently, try to work through it verbally. Almost always it is not the solution they are looking for, but how you approach the problem and more important, that you are prepared to try to solve it.

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