Damn, you didn’t get the job. Easily you possessed all the qualifications they asked for in the advertisement. The only thing your mind resonates is that you must have blown the interview. It never dawned on you that possibly the company was looking for something they did not ask for and something that you did not demonstrate.
My wife is retired from a career of being a bilingual administrative assistant to the presidents of international companies. We combine our knowledge and experience to help the advanced English as second language (ESL) students with resumes and handling interviews for major companies around the world. We also design tests and interview questions for companies to give their applicants.
Things are changing in what companies are looking for in an employee. For many people the problem is that someone forgot to tell those applying for jobs. Skill set is now taking a back seat to mindset. Rather meaning the company has less interest in how well you can do the job and more interest in how you think. Skills count, but in today’s market you are often competing against a very large pool of people who also profess to have the skill.
According to authors Paul Stoltz and James Reed in their book, Put Your Mindset to Work: The One Asset You Really Need to Win and Keep the Job You Love, 96% of employers feel that a person’s mindset is more desirable than their skill set. Companies state that they would trade seven people with the proper skill set for one with the desired mindset.
Stoltz categorizes what companies are looking as the 3 G’s. It stands for Global, Good and Grit. After reading the book we started analyzing businesses and who the bosses said were excellent employees and those they would prefer to get rid of. Though these employers were not consciously thinking of the 3 G’s, they do seem to have better thoughts towards employees who exhibit the traits.
Your resume should demonstrate the 3 G’s. If you can’t show this then it is suggested that you work on your mindset.
The next part we work on with our students is the interview itself. About 80% of the work is preparation before an interview. For companies using traditional interview methods there are some pretty stock questions an interviewee can expect. The answers to these questions need to be almost memorized, but delivered like they are not. We do mock interviews with students and also advise on proper use of body language.
A quick search on the Internet can provide list of these most frequently asked questions. Many sites also have suggested answers. A few of the questions include:
Tell me about yourself?
What are your strengths?
What is your weakness?
Tell me about the worst boss you ever had.
Within the last couple years research reports have stated that this traditional hiring process really does not get the best employees. Obviously one of the problems is people have learned what the general questions are and how to answer them. There are those who are great at being interviewed, but poor employees. More and more companies are going to Google type questions. These are ones that sometimes allows a person to demonstrate their skill level, but most often exposes their thought process. The book Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google, by William Poundstone is an excellent reference and a must read if you apply for jobs with major companies.
My wife and I designed a test for a firm whose employees have to do some sales type activities, but also are responsible for getting papers from various sources, keeping track of these papers and finally organizing and submitting them to another company. We combined traditional and Google style questions along with activities similar to what had to be done on the job. To show the benefit of our test style to managers we had them first go through the resumes and choose who they would like to hire. We then explained what to look for as answers on some of the unusual questions of our test. Next we presented them the tests taken by the applicants, but without knowing whose test it was. Their decisions of who to hire changed considerably.
Every potential candidate had to answer why manhole covers are round. They were also told that they had only a three gallon can and a five gallon can. The applicants had to detail how they could get exactly four gallons.
Part of the idea for those questions was to see if they had the grit to finish a job. We were amazed at the number of applicants who did not even attempt an answer. Obviously their resumes filled the circular filing cabinet. On the manhole cover question there really is no one correct answer. The question regarding the four gallons involves some thought. We were not necessarily interested in a correct answer. But if anyone applying for the detail specific job wrote, “Fill the five gallon can and pour off one gallon,” they failed to make the short list.
Along with all the standard hints and tips for making a resume and interview we tell our students they should do three things.
- Their resume should demonstrate the 3 G’s.
- They should be prepared to effectively answer the most common traditional questions.
- They should be aware of and understand what is being looked for in Google type questions.
If a person is not willing to put forth the effort to benefit themselves with a job, then why should a potential employer believe they will work to benefit the company?