Friday 23 November 2018

Interview process cycle: How to increase your interview rates

  Posted at  November 23, 2018 No comments
Job Hunting.

You are not alone if you have been searching for a job without much results to show for and you feel more depressed by each passing day. Repeat after me: This is just a passing phase in life, it will not last.

This is just a passing phase in life, it will not last.

You might have sent out a ton of resume applications but none come back to you except those pesky sales firms. It doesn't feel good, it makes one feel unwanted. As the days go by without a single reply, you start to wonder:

"Am I that lousy?"

"Nobody actually wants to hire me?"

"I can't even get any interviews, much less jobs! Even those I think I am over-qualified for!"

From there, your self-esteem and self-confidence goes through the floor and you find yourself unmotivated to move each day you wake up. What do you do? By actually understanding how the whole interviewing process works you will get a better chance at it.

Where does your resume go after you click "APPLY"?

The main issue here is that most resumes won't even get past stage 2. Why is that? Through my own experience and a few other friends' experience, we were able to increase our chances of securing an interview. In fact, in the year before I landed my current job, I secured a 5 interviews within half a year which translates to 71% success rate based on 7 resumes sent. How was this done?

Increase your chances of scoring an interview by doing this:

Stage 1, 2: The Application & Gatekeeper stage
Common mistakes:

  • We often put what we want to say about ourselves rather than ask the question:
    "If I were an employer, what would I want to see in a candidate?"
  • We fail to recognise that modern applications are screened by softwares that are created to pick out keywords from our resume (We still go by what we want to say about ourselves)
  • We fail to see what are listed in the job description and did not create a "Match" with the software that screens our resume

In the previous job that I was hired, I found out from my hiring boss that the numbers for my interview process were as follow:

  • 400+ Applicants (I believe it was 425 at least)
  • There were 20 applicants shortlisted for 2 separate rounds (40 candidates) ~ 10% rate!
  • Finally, 2 candidates hired in the end. - < 0.5% rate!

As you can see, the chances of becoming the candidate hired was merely < 0.5%. However, by breaking the process down, we can see that it is much more easier to increase your chances of scoring an interview (thereby increasing your chances of getting hired). How do you become that 10%?

Do this to get past Stage 2:
HR personnel usually don't have the time to screen through so many resumes for a single job offering. The "person" who does this is actually a software/machine that filters out the 10%. So how do you do this? 

You create a MATCH. What do I mean? First of all take a look at an example Job description for an assistant chemist posted on JobStreet (K.C. likes to use JobStreet):

See this job description? Those highlighted in Red are what they are looking for. Instead of just coming up with a generic resume that tells other what you do, it would be better instead to tailor your resume such that it re-phrases those requirements into the resume you have. This is best done by putting them under your past experiences section such as your FYP, internships and previous jobs.

The thing to note is that you do not have to necessarily hit all of the points. Assuming if I am a candidate with a chemistry background, most of these descriptions listed are already relevant skill sets that I have. However, presentation of our resumes are important such that we need to demonstrate explicitly in KEYWORDS that we have what they are looking for which the screening software filters out.

By rephrasing the requirements into your resume as capabilities you score a much better chance with the software gatekeepers.

Chances are if you can get past even stage 2, the HR personnel who reads your resume would also find that you have a good fit of capabilities because you have essentially answered the question of why they should interview/hire you by "demonstrating" that you have a good fit.

Point to note is however, do not abuse this method to over state/lie about what you know because you will be found out at the interview.

- To get more job listings, play around with search words related to the field you are in. (e.g. Chemistry, lab, lab work, chemicals, -insert whatever relevant words you can think of-)
- Tailor your resume to reflect the key job requirements others are looking for, not what you want to say about yourself.
- Keep in mind that the screening software screens for Keywords from job descriptions which you want to incoporate into your resume.

We will take a look at how to score well in an interview in a future post.

Meanwhile, keep sending out your tailored resumes. If you find it difficult due to your emotions or you are feeling depressed, remember that on average one has a 10% chance of scoring an interview.

Therefore, by working backwards, to secure 1 interview, you should send out at least 10 tailored resumes with relevant job descriptions. Then, break that down to sending 2 quality resumes a day which is more manageable. By one week, if you send out 2  daily from Monday to Friday, you will have achieved this objective. Then, it will just be a matter of time.

Ending this post with a story of 2 farmers:

Once, there was a devastating drought in the land. There were two farmers who prayed for rain but only one continued to work the land and sow the seeds. When the rain came, which farmer benefited?

Keep sending, it is only a numbers game.

Until Next Time,

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