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In yesterday’s Courier Mail’s Careerone (p3) the following was suggested by Phillip Hesketh as a way to end a job interview:
“When you’re being interviewed just say ‘Before I go, on a scale of one to 10, where one is you wish you hadn’t interviewed me, and 10 is you want to offer me the job, where are we?’ ‘Not where am I, but where are we?’
‘They might say ‘eight’. “And you say, ‘OK, what do we have to do to get it to a 10’.”
I haven’t yet seen a candidate try this – but I notice that this type of question (e.g. ‘Do you have any reservations about my skills that I could address for you?’) is being used more often by candidates at the end of job interviews . Trying to clarify any misgivings the interviewer may have is a good idea. However, you may find this question doesn’t work when:
- it sounds like you read it in a ‘how to attend job interviews book and you thought you’d give it a try
- it comes across as an overly arrogant sales pitch
- you have already used up your interview time and this question is just a further indicator to the interviewer of your lack of time management and courtesy
- the interview is conducted by a rigid ‘merit based’ panel process, where panel members may feel that you have had ample opportunity to present what you have to offer, and that responding to this type of question just allows you an unfair advantage
Job interviewers have differing styles, preferences and biases about how to conduct interviews and what to look for in candidates. Some will see it as bad form if candidates do not ask questions. Others run very tight processes that dont allow time for candidates to seek out any futher information. These are my tips:
- questions are a way to engage in a more personal and real way with an interviewer, and can show that you have researched their Company and thought about how you could fit.
- check out the interviewer’s body language when they ask ‘Do you have any questions?’ See if they are relaxed and truly looking for you to ask questions – or turning the page, shuffling and looking at their Blackberry/watch.
- if you ask a question, make sure that it is something that you are genuinely interested in about the job, and shows a high level of research and analysis about the Company. Maybe: ‘ I notice your Company/Department has just acquired ……………… In my last assignment in Economics I did a lot of reading about…………………Will there be opportunities in the first year to have a placement in this new area?’
- definitely do not ask for information about something that is readily available to you by internet research about the Company. Most employers put out a lot of information about their graduate programmes, so it is very lame to ask basic questions like, ‘How many rotations will I have in the first year?’
- avoid just saying ‘No’. Maybe the best way to end is to say in your own words: ‘Thank you, I don’t have any questions but I do want to thank you for the opportunity to attend this interview. I have attended Career Fairs and spoken to people from your company, followed discussions on your Graduate Facebook page and online chat sessions, and read about the experiences of your previous graduates. I am confident that your Company is where I would like to start a career. If it is all right with you may I quickly summarise what I have to offer?’ Then follow this up with three key attributes that you can bring to the Company (sometimes referred to as your ‘thirty second sell’).
Good Luck with your Graduate application and interview.
Graduate Recruitment application season is here again. It is pleasing to see the range of strategies that different employers are using to seek out the best talent, who fit with where their organisation is heading. The trend is certainly towards ensuring candidates have researched the employer’s current roles and future challenges.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has just opened its applications (closing 18 April 2011) for a wide range of graduate opportunities (Human Resources, Law , Marketing and Sales, Architecture and Design, Business and Commerce, Accounting, Information Technology, Government).
The ATO application form requires candidates to answer 15 multiple choice questions. The first 12 questions test ability to research and analyse a variety of documents available on the Tax Office website (e.g. Which of the following are listed in the document Compliance program 2010-11 as initiatives and innovations for Small-to-medium enterprises?). The next three questions are about values and code of conduct (You happen to see a colleague hit a parked car while leaving the work car park……? ).
Australia Post’s application process is also open (closing 4 April 2011) and reminds applicants ‘Your application is your “brand”, so make sure you’ve thoroughly checked it for spelling and grammar.’ The application form asks about a candidate’s leadership experience (sports teams, voluntary organisations, etc) and asks the following five questions (with a limit of 100 words per questions).
- Australia Post’s retail network is one of the biggest in the country, serving over a million people each day. Customers are the lifeblood of our organisation. Tell us about a time when you have met and exceeded the customer’s expectations through the service you have provided?
- In an organisation as large and diverse as Australia Post, one great opportunity is to build relationships across several teams. Tell us a time when you were able to encourage others within your workplace to work collaboratively or to support an idea?
- As a graduate, we’re not only interested in your scores, but in who you are – what you stand for, where you’re going, what you have done in the world and what you would love to do from here. Tell us your career aspirations and areas of interest?
- It is an exciting time to be at Australia Post as we are currently moving in a new direction with our ‘Future Ready’ strategy. This transformation strategy means that we will have a greater focus on our customers, will be embracing the digital world and more. What skills and attributes do you have which will allow you to successfully contribute to driving Australia Post into this new era?
- Tell us why you have ultimately chosen to apply for the Australia Post Graduate Program?
For more ideas on who is advertising for Graduates in Australia try GradConnection, UniGrad, Career One’s Virtual Career Fair, or check out a Career Fair (schedule – most in mid March to early April 2011) in your state.
When you are engaging someone to assist you with the writing of selection criteria, you need to decide if you require a basic or more expert level of support.
The basic level of support includes providing information to a writer, who will then take this information and ensure it is well presented, and in the appropriate format.
If you need more expert assistance, including understanding recruitment processes and selection criteria, you may need to engage the services of a ‘job coach/writer’ with recruitment and human resource experience. A good job coach will brainstorm with you to find your most complex and relevant examples for the advertised role.
For example, when addressing the criteria/capability ‘personal drive and integrity’, I will ask my clients questions like:
- When have you enthusiastically attended or organised training in relation to Values, Code of Conduct, Ethics, Respectful (harassment-free and non-discriminatory) Workplaces, Fraud or Conflict of Interest?
- When have you taken on roles to show your commitment to quality workplaces (e.g. harassment contact officer)?
- Can you think of a time when you have identified something that needed to be improved in your team, then went and did something about it?
- Tell me about some times when you have been given a difficult job (lack of staff, tight deadlines, technology problems…..), but stuck at it and achieved a good result?
If the vacancy is a team leadership role, I will be looking for higher-level examples, through questions such as:
- What have you done to ensure everyone in your team has had the appropriate corporate training? Have you ever introduced a ‘Values’ training session to show your Agency’s commitment to these Values?
- What do you do in your team meetings to show that you are committed to non-discriminatory workplaces?
- Have you identified, investigated or worked with corporate service teams to resolve harassment of fraud or code of conduct matters?
- When have you been selected to undertake a challenging project?
For senior leadership roles, examples that are more significant will be sought through discussing:
- What have you done to ensure your division/Department has shown leadership in engaging and retaining employees?
- Where have you identified something that would enhance a new policy initiative and worked across divisions or with other government departments to make this happen?
- What have you done to build a culture that reinforces appropriate risk-taking, initiative and personal resilience?
Following this brainstorming, it is important to select examples that are most relevant to the advertised role, and to present these concisely within the word limit.
For expert assistance with writing your claims against selection criteria, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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