When you are preparing for an interview, what do you normally do? Do you go through your CV what feels like a million times ensuring it showcases all your qualifications clearly? Do you research answers to potential questions in order to highlight why you have the relevant experience for the role? You might just be going about securing your dream job in the wrong way.
A report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) in 2014 found that companies recruiting people under-25 were more concerned with a job applicant’s attitude rather than their qualifications. Based on a survey of 600 employers, it was revealed that 47% of those surveyed saw attitude as the most important factor in employability compared to 20% who favoured qualifications. This is great news for passionate individuals hoping to start out in the industry of their dreams and especially for younger job seekers who may have the enthusiasm and commitment to succeed but are lacking experience straight out of school or university.
But how can you go about doing this? Networking is key and as you’ve probably been advised a thousand times attend as many events as possible, armed with a bag full of business cards. Most importantly however, strike the right level of formality. Think about anyone you meet as a friend of your parents; someone to be respected but actively engaged in a conversation which involves work but also your wider passions. If you’re a budding photographer, for example, don’t just talk about the amazing people you’ve worked for or your last shoot (though if they were great opportunities don’t forget to mention them!). Why not address an antidote about what drives you to take photographs and ask them about their own favourite pictures? This way you portray yourself as an interesting and engaging person to work with rather than another cog who works for them.
When it comes to interviews themselves, you’re attitude and approach should mirror how you’d like to be seen during a day in the role you’re applying for. Tips such as arriving slightly early and greeting your interview with a smile and a handshake have long been constructive advice for job candidates and that’s because they work! Avoid negativity or criticism too, especially when questioned about previous employers or setbacks. If you can turn these experiences into positives or learning curves, you’re indicating you’ll do the same day-to-day if the company hire you.
And, most importantly, believe in yourself. If you walk into the interview unsure of your own ability, this insecurity is certain to shine through and the interviewer is hardly likely to believe you could complete the job to a high standard if you don’t! This advice is especially key for women, who have traditionally been seen as less likely than men to apply for jobs that are outside of their skill level. But even a lack of experience need not stand in your way. If you think about it, in life we are constantly faced with unknown situations and very rarely do we merely address a situation without taking action. For small skill weaknesses, learn them in your spare time, (even after the interview if need be!) and have the self confidence that you can accomplish tasks you are not yet proven in. A ‘Yes l can’ attitude not only emphasises a drive to succeed and learn new skills but it highlights that even in your seemingly weakest areas you have the positive work ethic that will lead you and the company you are applying to towards success. That can beat experience any day.