When you decide it’s time to move on from your current employer, you probably know that it becomes a job in itself. There’s the research, the applications, dealing with recruiters (both agency and in-house), interviews, offers, negotiations, the list goes on. So how can you make your life, and your job search, easier and less stressful?
1. Plan your search
When looking for a new role, it’s critical that you have a plan and that you follow it. Going at it half-heartedly or taking a random approach can only lead to frustration, and ultimately a result that you may not be happy with. So, sit down and do your research. Work out which companies you want to work for and why. Identify and contact good recruiters that can give you an edge. Think about any contacts at target companies who can help you. List out your skills and your achievements. Tailor your CV to each role. When you’ve done all that, make sure the information is captured somewhere.
2. Use a spreadsheet
You’d be surprised how easy it is to get muddled when there are lots of things going on in your search, especially when your current job is demanding and busy. Start a spreadsheet and use it to record all your research, applications and everything else mentioned in point one. Store the spreadsheet in the cloud, so you can access it from anywhere on any device. If someone calls you and you can’t remember the details of the role you applied for, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, ‘can I call you back in five minutes?’ then spend a few minutes looking at your spreadsheet to refresh your memory. If you sound vague or can’t remember applying, it will dent your chances.
3. Prepare for the interview
There will be a more comprehensive post dedicated to this specific subject soon; in the meantime here’s an overview. If you’re using a recruitment consultant then it goes without saying that you should be the best prepared candidate in the process. If you’re not, then you need to ask your consultant some serious questions. If you’ve applied directly then you need to find out as much as you can before attending the interview. First of all you must research the company and the role fully. This is easier than it has ever been with so much information available online. The company website is an obvious place to look as are news sites, trade publications and review sites such as Glassdoor. You need to understand the company, what it does, what are its values, who are the key people. Look at the other roles the company is recruiting for. What is the company looking to achieve? Research the interviewer as well. Check out their LinkedIn profile, you may find you both worked at the same company previously, or you have a shared interest outside of work.
You need to find out the structure of the interview process and how many stages there are. Again if you’re using a recruiter you should know this. If not then contact the company and ask the question. Is this going to be a competency based interview? Will there be a presentation? Do you need to take anything with you? Hopefully this will have been made clear, but it’s always good to check if you’re unsure.
4. Impress at the interview
You have prepared for this, so you should be relaxed and upbeat. Some pre-interview nerves are normal so don’t worry. Remember that this company is interested in you, otherwise you wouldn’t be there. In addition, the person you’ll meet actually wants to hire someone so you have as much chance as any other candidate. You already know about things such as eye contact, firm handshake and a smile so I won’t cover that. You must be enthusiastic, and this goes back to your research. Being generally enthusiastic is a given. You should be enthusiastic about where the company is going, the latest product launch, or the big win that has just been announced. Your enthusiasm must be about specific things. Be calm, speak slowly and clearly, and consider your responses. The interview will fly by from your point of view, so you must take your time to get your points across in a rational and professional manner.
Before the interview concludes, ask questions. If you don’t you will seem disinterested. You should have questions already prepared and they should be insightful. It’s fine to ask about prospects and future plans, but make them relevant to the company. Instead of asking, ‘what plans does the company have to grow?’ why not try asking, ‘I read that the company is moving into emerging markets. How is this role going to contribute to those efforts?’ Everyone asks the same questions, so you have to stand out. Make sure also to test the water by asking about the next interview stage, or the decision making process, this shows you are interested.
5. Follow up
There are mixed views on this, but I believe that a friendly follow up email is polite and courteous. Thank the person for their time and say you enjoyed the meeting. That’s all you need to say. Never, ever list the ‘ten reasons’ why you should get the job. The interviewer knows what they are looking for and pushing your views onto them will only weaken your chances. If you’re using a recruiter, then you should phone straight after the interview to give your thoughts. If you feel you missed something out, then your recruiter may be able to drop this into their follow up conversation. Contact the company if you haven’t heard within the given timescale. You’ll probably be looking elsewhere so you need to know where you stand. There’s nothing wrong with dropping your contact a line and asking where things stand. Don’t hassle people though and never call before the date you were given for a decision; that won’t do you any favours.
If you get the job, fantastic, keep in touch and make sure you understand what happens next and whether there is anything you need to do before joining. If you’re unsuccessful, then there are two ways to go, but only one of them is going to enhance your credibility. We’ll cover this in our next blog post. Thanks for reading and good luck with your job search.
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