Research done by the executive search industry has shown that the first person interviewed gets the job only 17.6 percent of the time. But the last person interviewed is hired almost 56 percent of the time, or more than three times more frequently.
The reason: As in most human endeavors, people are wary of accepting the first choice offered. Therefore, do what you can to position yourself among the last candidates interviewed, and definitely not among the first. Other reasons include corporate inertia. It’s often customary to move at a glacial pace. The sense of urgency may not exist at the beginning of a search.
Wait 10 days to two weeks before responding to a help-wanted appeal. (Aged ads are excellent for this purpose). If you have a good relationship with your executive recruiter, ask him or her to wait it out and not propose you too early. And if the interviewer asks you when you can set up an appointment, push the day back as far as possible. Other studies have shown that Monday is the worst day of the week to be interviewed for a job. The worst time for an interview is late afternoon.
Let’s examine this guideline one step further. Research indicates that almost two-thirds of the time the best qualified candidates don’t get the offer, and the person chosen often meets fewer than 50 percent of the job qualifications. How can this be?
The reason is because job offers are given most frequently to those candidates who, regardless of formal qualifications promote themselves best, intimidate least and listen the most. Strong listening skills allow the candidate to determine or uncover just what the interviewer is looking for. This approach provides a perfect way to maximize your opportunity to sell what your prospective employer is buying. When you have this vital piece of intelligence, you have everything you need to make a masterful presentation. A by-product of this is likeability. After qualifications, the most important reason an employer will advance your candidacy is because he or she likes you. And the easiest way to get other people to like you at the start of your relationship is to listen to them attentively.
Proceed from there to develop a mental database consisting of past situational anecdotes describing how you achieved success in similar situations. Use the CAB formula to respond to certain questions especially tough ones. Describe the Challenge confronting you, the Action you took and the Benefit gained. [Editor’s note: This approach is also known as the SAR, STAR, PAR, or CAR approach Read more.] What a great way to steer clear of canned responses. You’re on your way to making it to the top of the short-list.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Arthur I. Frank, MBA, of Palm Harbor, FL, operates Resumes “R” Us and specializes in resume and cover letter writing, personal job-search coaching, salary negotiation training, and interview training. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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