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Words of Whizdom

Winning that role – Part 1 (Get to Interview)

Posted on 15th August 2019 by John McCluskey

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Ideally, we just don’t want people to get an interview, but also perform well at interview and give themselves every opportunity to win that roleI have decided to break this article into two parts (Articles) to focus the content that is relevant to each stage – Part 1 Getting to Interview, and Part 2 Preforming at interview to win that role.


Constant rejection can be a difficult pill to swallow, but honest self-assessment is even harder. The goal here is to provide some key takeaways for people to think about when applying for roles, so their time and effort is targeted to improve the success rate through each stage of the hiring process. 


The job market is competitive, and a candidate should not assume that just because they are qualified, and think they are perfect to apply for a role; and they will get an interview. Particularly if you are applying for many roles, to seek new or change from current employment. The effort required in the application whether, by resume, selection criteria or combination can be exhaustive, time-consuming and demotivating for candidates that are not getting to interview stage. 


If we break down the two stages into the basic concepts of; 

1. getting to interview stage which is predominately about the written word. What is asked by the client/employee and how you respond in your resume and selection criteria. (There may also be some reference checking with referees listed in resumes, and a prescreening process for a fit for purpose/role check done by a recruiter; before putting forward to clients.) 

2. the interview is more about the spoken word and how you communicate and sell yourself which will be covered in a separate article Part 2 Performing at Interview. 


What are the key points to consider when responding to a job, so you have the best chance to be selected for an interview? 


Tip 1 - The first concept you need to grasp is that the employer does not know you, no matter how good you are and how much you know. You need to understand, only your application sets you apart from other candidates when applying for the role, so highlight your achievements, skills, and relevant job history within your application. 


Tip 2 - The client wants to be confident that you can do the role, or have the ability to learn quickly. Your application or resume should always provide examples of similar work and if possible, highlight positive outcomes and examples. 


Try not to use generic statements without backing them up 


” work well in a team and am confident in undertaking individual tasks to achieve corporate goals this would be considered a motherhood statement that anyone can write. Giving examples is far better with demonstrated experience against a similar requirement that you are applying for ideally covering similar points as below. 


  • - What was the Activity....

  • - What was your role

  • - How you managed/did the activity

  • - Outcomes of the activities

  • - How the success of the activity was realised and measured 

  • - How this experience provides you with the skills required to perform the role you are going for

Tip 3 - If the response requires information such as referees or certificates to be supplied as part of the response ensure they are included. If employers get many responses, they will be looking at reasons to cull the field quickly, and an incomplete application will be the first to go.  


Tip 4 -  When nominating referees to ensure the following,


  • - They know that you have nominated them and who might contact them 

  • - Verify with any referee prior that they will endorse you in a positive frame 

  • - Referees should be current 

  • - Ensure they will be available not on leave and verify the contact details for email and phone. 

Tip 5 - If a resume is required, ensure it supports the application/role you are going for and modify it to be relevant. Reduce sections that are not directly related to the role as this should only be used to support a timeline of employment. Bigger is NOT better in resume size. I would recommend NOT including a photo of yourself in resume.


Tip 6 - Grammar and spell check, yes it is obvious, but you would be surprised at the quality of written word these days in applications. Your social media may also be checked so ensure LinkedIn supports your work history and is up to date. Also, you don’t want to be excluded through some controversial social media post, so run your eye over your social media sites and selfies on the web.


Tip 7 -  If there is an opportunity to write a Cover Letter or even in the application to promote your value to an employer, take it with both hands. As they will want to know the value, you can bring to the organisation. But, be sure always to research the business and role you are applying for, this shows an interest in the brand, their culture and goals.  It is always valuable to show an understanding of the organisation and the program of work you are maybe undertaking. 


The focus of the application for any job should be to get you to the next stage, which is usually the interview. Your application needs to stand out from the rest and make those reviewing the applications find yours of interest. You need to capture the audience/reviewers in the first two pages with the most important and valuable content highlighted early in the response. If there are many applications, most reviewers will not get to page 3 in the first cull. 



Written By: John McCluskey – Whizdom Recruitment 

John has over 20 years in Recruitment 

References Used: None (life experiences) 

Website:   Follow us on LinkedIn Whizdom recruitment