This time of year is the key time for job changes and life changes. Many people decide to move on from their jobs, change careers and look for new jobs over the festive season.
Jeff Poe knows all about how to land the ideal job. He is one of Australia’s leading providers of accounting and finance training and works with thousands of people to assist them to get the training they need to land their dream job, whether it be through delivering on the job training, technical training, training in how to prepare a killer CV or how to undertake a highly effective job interview – Jeff understands and knows what it takes to land the ideal job.
Jeff worked for 17 years in the corporate sector and with large listed companies and was also a Hiring Manager in several of his last roles. He left the corporate world and now owns and runs a highly successful training business helping people get jobs. Platinum Professional Training has offices in the five largest capital cities in Australia. Every year Jeff and his team work with thousands of people to help them to land their ideal job by providing them with practical training and essential 'on the job' skills.
According to Jeff, there are 10 steps in the process of landing your ideal job and he outlines them below:
- Know who you are, your strengths and weaknesses
- Know what you want and where you may excel
- Identify the opportunity
- Prepare for short interview answers
- Prepare for behavioural questions
- Prepare questions for them
- Research the company or industry
- Gain an interview
- Ace the interview
- Pass probation and keep the job
You should have an understanding of your value, your abilities and strengths that you offer to the market. Y ou should also be aware of your weaknesses. If these weaknesses are key criteria in your ideal job, do not worry, just understand that these may be an area for improvement. Use this as a chance to identify the things you need to work on to achieve your goals.
You must know what you want. Watching an interview with Warren Buffet, the world’s most successful investor and third richest person in the world – an insightful question put to him was “what advice would you give to young people starting out?” He answered “do something you love, something you are passionate about, because here you are most likely to excel at this. Furthermore, doing something you love doesn’t become work anymore.”
You must identify the opportunity. Identifying the opportunity no longer relies on just using the standard job search functions. If you are dead-set on a company or industry, then you should spend time immersing yourself in the company or industry. Speak to industry experts, major suppliers, regulators etc. Yes, it is a good idea to network using social media, but also stump up the cash to attend live industry events. You may uncover similar companies that you would love to work for, and this multiplies your opportunity set. Make no mistake, a lot of this becomes a numbers game.
The interview preparation is important and so your soft skills in communication and confidence are paramount. The interviews tend to be split into sections. The first section normally begins with short answer questions such as “tell me about yourself”, “what are your strengths and weaknesses”, “where do you see yourself in five years”, “what are your salary expectations”, etc. Spend the time researching the ideal answers for the common questions. I won’t discuss my answers to the 20 common interview questions, as this is a topic for another article.
Behavioural questions can catch people off guard because you are asked to provide a monologue/story for more than one minute of how you demonstrated a certain behaviour. An example is: “tell me about a time you had a conflict with a team member?”. If you are targeting a role in a large organisation, then behavioural questions will be asked because their HR departments are trained to include these questions for interviews. Begin by using the STAR approach to prepare your behavioural stories. Google it if you don’t know about it. More advanced approaches and strategies to behavioural questions is a separate topic of conversation.
Prepare insightful questions for the interviewer. The questions you ask at the end of the interview are assessable items. They detail the key concerns or worries you have. If you ask “will there be overtime in the role?” it means you are worried you may be doing overtime.
Most people are guilty of a wasted opportunity when they ask questions with only factual answers such as “will there be on the job training?”. This question is not bad, it’s just not good. I prefer to ask questions on how to succeed in the role or questions about the team culture.
You need to research the company you are interviewing for. This goes beyond just the company website and any public documents. You should have an understanding of their key suppliers, their key products, how they make money, what their margins might be. If there is a lack of information on the company, research the industry. Read industry press to identify the key trends, key changes in the law, what major news there is. Being able to discuss this with some knowledge and authority will raise your profile in the minds of the interviewer.
You need to be able to gain an interview. Your resume needs to look good. If necessary have a professional review it, or better yet, show it to any friends or family who are Hiring Managers somewhere. Your resume needs to have sufficient experience, and the experience should cover the key tasks in their job description. Look for similar ideal roles and ensure your experience discusses or has some treatment of the key tasks listed in those job descriptions. This will maximise your chances of getting the phone call to bring you in for a face to face interview.
You need to ace the interview. Yes, you should have already prepared for the interview with proper company/industry research, short answer questions, behavioural questions and questions for them. Now your soft skills in communication and persuasiveness need to do their work. If this is a weakness for you, do a communications course like Toastmasters.
It is important to understand that employers are basically running through four key questions in their mind when interviewing you:
- Can you do the job?
- Will you stay longer than 12 months?
- Do I like you?
- Will my team like you?
If you can sufficiently convince the interviewer of these four key questions, you will be shortlisted for the top.
After getting the job offer for your ideal job, you want to pass probation and keep the job, or better yet, excel in the job. Firstly, don’t stress about probation. They key thing they are testing is that you are broadly competent, and you don’t display bad behaviours like being consistently late or inappropriately using the office internet. But I would like to provide two key tips on increasing your value and propelling your career forward:
- Treat the company like it is your own. That way all the small things will matter to you. Each dollar earned is “yours”. Each expense is “yours” so it hurts. This will be quickly noticed by your superiors.
- Always ask “is there a better way of doing this?” Don’t do this in the first week because you could be perceived as a “know-it-all”. Ask this quietly to yourself and spend the time considering solutions. You could present a suggestion for improvement when you have a viable solution. This is highly noticed by superiors.