It's never been harder to fill a job in America. The recruiting industry measures this by looking at the average time it takes to fill a position. We're currently at an all-time high of 31 days. Employers are screaming "We can't find qualified talent." But that's not true. More than half the working population says they're open to switching jobs and are actively looking.
One major cause of the disconnect is that job seekers are simply bombing their interviews. Employers are saying the quality of talent they're interviewing is subpar. But that isn't the full story. Many of these candidates are qualified. They're just failing the interview. Interviewing is hard. Trying to impress a total stranger without looking desperate takes skill -- a skill most people haven't developed. If you think about it, how to interview well isn't taught in school. And interviewing isn't done on a regular basis (unless you are a serial job-hopper). It's no wonder so many people struggle with it.
As a result of this lack of awareness, many job seekers make major mistakes when interviewing. Ironically, they could be avoided with a little preparation. These are the top sins:
1. Failing to study what a company looks for in a candidate
A better way to look at interviewing is you're a business-of-one trying to sell your services to an employer. The more you know about what the company wants in a business partner, the easier it will be for you to showcase your skills and abilities that meet its needs. Sites like Glassdoor offer extensive information about companies that includes anonymous reviews from past and current employees. Reading through this information can help you identify the employee traits and skills the company prefers. The research will also reveal patterns that can give you a sense of the person who fits best with the company's culture. This video explains the process for leveraging online reviews to research employer preferences:
2. Not anticipating questions that the interviewer will ask
Besides asking you about your experience as it pertains to the job, the company is also going to ask you questions around your values and beliefs. It doesn't matter how much experience you have, if the company can't see your personality and aptitude syncing with the rest of its team, there's no point in bringing you on board. A popular interviewing technique these days is called "behavioral questioning": An interviewer asks you an open-ended question like "Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person." The interviewer then listens to your answer to see if how you responded in the situation syncs with how the company would want you to handle it. Tough, right? Glassdoor has an entire section dedicated to anonymous reviews of the interview experience at a company. This video helps you study what a specific employer will be looking to learn about you:
3. Not assessing how the company fits with your needs
There's nothing worse then going on a job interview and learning the company isn't a fit for you. You can avoid this by researching the company's benefits, pay, and, most important, employer brand. What's an employer brand? It's the overall feel of what it's like to work at a particular company. To determine this, job seekers should assess such things as the leadership style, profile of a typical employee, how the company has fun, what the company does that is special to its industry, and what the company stands for. This video outlines how to complete a thorough assessment of a company's employer brand:
The solution? Do your homework.
Always come prepared. There's no excuse you can make, because online tools and resources have made it easier than ever to research an employer. It takes time, but if you really want that job, you need to put in effort. Researching the company as outlined above will help you greatly improve your performance in the interview. You can never be too prepared for a job interview. Employers will appreciate the effort, and you'll be more relaxed and confident. A total win-win!