Do you need a job? With 7.4 million people out of work, nailing the interview is crucial in today’s competitive job market. You want to show how much passion you have for the job, but what if your passion is steeped in pure desperation? How do you strike the right note: avoid giving off the desperate vibe while not appearing aloof?
Above All: Don’t Lie
Recruiters have many ways to vet you, so expect them to do a little digging. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed employers both small and large to add extra layers of both health and security screenings to their candidate selection processes, especially when a staffing firm is involved. Of course, criminal background checks remain the top screening tool employers use, followed by social media checks.
Basic background checks can reveal substantial lies like degrees you never earned, schools you never attended, and fake jobs. Simple reference checks can uncover smaller lies like performance/results/proficiency claims and inflated titles. Even quick web searches dig up dirt.
So what do you do if you’re caught lying? Your best bet is to work with a recruiter to replace the fabrications on your resume or social profiles with a compelling case for hiring you despite that job gap, missing degree, or lack of experience. Many employers are willing to take a chance on someone who fits their culture and has potential but may not have the exact qualifications on their wish list. We recently shared some tips on applying for jobs in which you don’t 100% qualify.
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Ask Questions And Negotiate
Employers expect you to ask questions about the job and the company culture. Being afraid to “interview the interviewer” shows how desperately you need a job over a desire to find the right fit for your passion.
Our HT Group recruiters, practice directors, and account executives recommend asking the following questions during an interview:
- Do you have any concerns about me or my ability to be successful in this position?
- Can you tell me what expectations you have for this role in the first 90 days, 6 months, and long term?
- What do you like most about working here?
- How would you describe the company culture?
- With all due respect, why should I work for you?
Another sticking point for many job candidates: pay scale. If the salary isn’t on target with what you expected, don’t be afraid to negotiate. In order to be successful, you will need to be thoughtful with your approach and follow these steps for getting the best offer. Working with a recruiter can help, too.
Follow Up, But Don’t Pester
Days (or even weeks) have passed with no word. You really need a job, so what should you do? Following up after a job interview can feel daunting. Here are a few tips to take the fear away:
- Ask when you should expect a reply—and don’t hound them in the meantime.
- If you don’t hear back within that timeframe—or a week or more has passed, if you didn’t receive a timeframe— check back in with a simple and to-the-point message.
- If you feel they have concerns, use your thank-you and check-in messages as opportunities to help convince them you’re the right hire.
Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
Call it red flags. Call it intuition. It’s the butterflies in your stomach or the hairs standing up on your neck that are sending warning signals.
For example, a giant red flag should wave if your interview questions become uncomfortable or extremely personal. This can accelerate quite unexpectedly. For instance, you might hear your interviewer ask:
- I love your accent. Where did you grow up?
- What do you like to do on the weekends?
- Ah, Texas Tech. Great school. When did you graduate?
- What gender do you associate with, so we can address you appropriately?
- Did you hurt your back? What happened?
Whether the interviewer is just curious or is unethically (or illegally) digging for dirt, you can often answer with something like, “I’m not sure why that’s relevant. I can tell you that I’m confident in my ability to do the job.” The Balance Careers offers additional ways to handle these questions here.
Spotting a dysfunctional workplace during an interview can also save you time and heartache. Even if the company carries clout or you’re vying for a prestigious title, if the company culture seems off during the interview phase, it’s best not to ignore the signs. Pay attention if you find you are changing the way you talk, behave, dress, and more to simply “fit in.”
Remember, you and your potential new company are evaluating each other to see if there’s a fit. Even if you desperately need a job, it’s not worth taking one that you know is wrong for you. Working with your HT Group recruiter will help you strike the right notes in the interview process so that you can find your passion for the position over desperation for a job.
FIND YOUR NEXT OPPORTUNITY WITH THE HT GROUP
Ready to move your career forward? Connect with The HT Group today!