We’ve all been there: You’ve sifted through stacks of resumes, rounded up the best candidates and now it’s interview time. Only, the candidate who looked like a perfect fit on paper walks in to the interview and appears to be lacking. The individual has a hard time communicating accomplishments the way you’d expect.
It must be time to move back to the collection of resumes and search again right? Not so fast.
It’s likely you’re on the other end of the communication barrier our Job Seeker Spotlight winner, Amitha Gumpalli, was facing. Fortunately, this barrier can be overcome with smart interviewing tactics.
Ready to perform, not ready to talk about performance
Amitha is seeking a position as a marketing research analyst — a top growth job for 2014. The high demand for her skill set created interview offers that didn’t necessarily translate into job offers.
She spent time with CareerBuilder career coach Jill Hinrichs, and there’s no question that Amitha is an analytical, innovative, strategic thinker when it comes to data and business information. She just hadn’t yet reached a point where she was comfortable talking about it. After conducting a mock interview and understanding that she needs to address the critical “How can I help you?” question, Amitha feels more ready than ever to demonstrate her value during an actual job interview.
What does this have to do with you? Keep in mind that many job seekers are in the same boat as Amitha, and not all of them are able to take a proactive step to remedy the situation. Imagine what would happen if you let all the “Amithas” walk out the door — you’d be missing out on some solid candidates.
So the next time you find yourself in such a predicament in an interview, try these tips to take the lead and break down communication barriers.
1. Use the STAR method. The STAR method is a structured way of responding to behavioral-based interview questions by discussing situations, tasks, actions and results. It is a reliable method for candidates to use when preparing for and delivering responses during an interview. However, you can use it too by guiding responses through this sub-set of questions.
- SITUATION: Describe a situation you were in or the task you needed to accomplish.
- TASK: What goal were you working toward? What was the plan after identifying the situation?
- ACTION: Describe the actions you took to address the situation. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution?
- RESULT: What was the outcome? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?
2. Put the candidate at ease. 92 percent of job seekers fear something about the interview process. Creating a comfortable situation for the candidate invites them to share more openly and naturally. Pause to listen and ask simple yet specific questions, which can help to alleviate tension. Think of it as carrying on a conversation as opposed to conducting an interrogation.
3. Hire to fit the job description, not the person profile. Job descriptions can be worse than online dating profiles: Do they have a bachelor’s degree? Do they have 5-plus years of experience? Instead, you should be asking: How well could this person fill our needs? Lou Adler recommends compiling a list of the five or six most important performance objectives so that you can not only communicate your expectations clearly to the candidate, but also to yourself.
New Here? Learn More About Job Seeker Spotlight
Job Seeker Spotlight is a program that uses CareerBuilder’s Talent Development services to highlight the efforts of individuals who are currently using CareerBuilder to find work. The program highlights those who show creativity, personality and passion in their job search — but who may need just a little bit of one-on-one support to achieve their goals.
The chosen job seeker for the month works with a certified career coach to assess his or her current resume and job search strategy. Working together in a pair of one-on-one sessions, they create an action plan designed to enhance and empower the job seeker’s approach toward his or her career journey with the tools (and confidence) to succeed.
If your organization is interested in providing resources for job seekers to improve their interview, or any job search skill, we can help. Learn how CareerBuilder Talent Development solutions can empower them to be better prepared for today’s workforce or grow within their current roles. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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