How to Get Screened In For An Interview

Jul 30, 2010 by

Getting Screened In

Most recruitment follows a pattern.

A recruiter, looking for a solution, invites a pile of choices in front of them.

This pile of choices might come via CV (resume), application form, recommendations by peers, or whatever.

The process is basically the same – they want some choices, they then seek to whittle down the choices to one person whom they hire.

The challenge for the Jobswotter, who is busy seeking to win that job, is not to get screened out.

As I prefer to be more proactive, and not rely on fickle fate or the enigmatic choices of the recruiter, I prefer to opt for getting screened in.

3 Tips on getting screened in:

Tip #1: Be the pile of choices.

In simple terms, to get into the pile of choices I might suggest that you apply for the job. But then, you already knew that was fairly key.

The trick is to be the pile of choices.

How much easier would it be if the recruiter only has to consider if you are the right person for the job? How would it feel to not have any immediate competition for the role?

Imagine the scene: you are recruiting a new team member and, because you would love to avoid paying for a recruitment agency or advert, you start casting around for some options. If you see a likely CV in your intray, or are given a likely tip-off by a colleague, would you consider giving that person a look?

Find a way to get your CV into the organisations that you want to work for. My suggestion is that you send it to them.

The really smart thing is to decide to do your research, match your skills and experience to potential employers, and provide those employers with evidence of your suitability to work for them.

Yes, that takes effort and it requires thought… but the people who take this approach significantly raise their chances of success in getting into suitable employment. And you’re ok with effort, right?

Tip #2: Show how your experience is relevant to their problems.

The fact is that believing yourself to be a great choice is not enough: you need to give a potential employer evidence of your capabilities.

Again, this sounds obvious… but is harder than it at first sounds.

You need to figure out two things if you’re going to make the most of Tip #1:

a) You need to know what problems and challenges the company you are targeting is facing.

b) You need to know which of those problems and challenges you have already overcome in a previous job, and know how you did it.

For b), click the bold link to see Richard’s post on looking at your achievements.

For a), you need to utilise your research skills, your networking skills, and your intellect. Look at who they are and what they are doing, ask people who might know more than you do, and imagine the challenges they might be facing. If you really don’t know, why not try and network your way into talking to some people who work there?

Once you’ve done all the spade work then you need to make sure that the tailored CV you send them only focuses on their kind of challenges and how you achieved solving those kinds of problems elsewhere.

A CV full of things that are relevant to the employer will stand a good chance of getting screened in for interview.

Tip #3: Be the kind of person who works there.

Having got screened in for consideration for interview you will face the scrutiny of the recruiter asking, “Will this person fit the culture here?”… or, more honestly, “Do I like you?”

80% of the decision at interview will be down to whether you create a rapport.

If you’ve got on to a long-list for interview, you’ve already proven that you have the kinds of skills, knowledge or experience that they are looking for – otherwise they would have screened you out. From this point forward the questions are all about credibility (does what they have written match who I interview?) and likeability (can I work with this person?). It’s that simple.

The employer will either telephone you to check you out prior to interview or just call you in for a initial interview off the bat. If they have used an agency, this will be what the Recruitment Consultant is doing: checking your credibility and likeability.

The really smart thing to do is to model the behaviour of the team you will be joining. Now, I would qualify that by pointing out that you really can’t fake things too far… but if you can see yourself working in that team then it’s really worth starting to act like you already do.

Rapport comes from many things but essentially it is fostered when you can recognise that the person you are talking to is, somehow, “just like you”.

One savvy chap I know spent time hanging out in the same after-work bar as the people who worked for the company he wanted to get into. He got to know them, he networked contacts, and he found out about the company challenges… but he also learned how to behave just like those people in that company. When it came to interview he knew what to wear, how to carry himself, what issues were burning, and was able to greet people he knew as if he already worked there. He got the job… his investment of effort and time paid off.

We’ve written at length about Networking elsewhere but one particularly useful article, in this context, is one from Alex –> The Hidden Value of Trade Shows.

There is so much more we could say on this but, for now, let me ask you:

Are you tired of coming a close second, of being screened out? If so, what are you going to do to change that outcome?

What do you think?

If you’re open to sharing your experiences and thoughts, or want to share what you’ve learnt with other job-hunters, why not get in touch or post your thoughts in the comments box below?

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