Monday, February 10, 2014

Looking for a job?

When you are looking for a job,  there is a lot of preparation in order to ready yourself for the interview.  At times, you begin to doubt yourself.  Have I prepared enough? Did I go through the check list? Will the interviewers ask hard or easy questions?Am I wearing the appropriate outfit? Do I have the right look for the job? Will they like me?

Preparation for a job not only tests your character, intelligence but also your physical appearance. Let's face it, interviewers are well aware of interviewing procedures and the first thing they do is look at you when you enter the room, from head to toe.  They will mentally note your looks, then pick your brain. For those students who will be graduating soon (yes you Donna), securing a job does not start at the interview room, it starts well before that.  University is the grooming gateway to job searching. At my first graduation dinner, the Vice Chancellor shook my hand and asked  what useful lessons I learned during my time at uni.  My reply was 'nothing' with a smile.  He replied with a laugh and a 'you are so right'.  We understood the jest although there was a seriousness to the reply.  There exists an overload of information at university which we can memorize until our brains fall to pieces but it is what we do with that information that will make the difference in the workforce.

Good universities teach us about available information and application but great universities teach us to reach beyond what they teach us.  To be creative and stretch the boundaries incorporated within  that information. Great universities acknowledge the room for failure and put systems in place to counteract it.  Most of what we learn at university will not be directly used in the workforce in some industries but the foundations are highly instrumental.  

On the other hand, we have people that did not attended university experiencing the same or similar dimensional success.  Those are the people who take more risks because they were not taught by the book.  They are less fearful about failing, I've noticed this with entrepreneurial friends who skipped university classes for start up businesses.  “I am a firm believer in the reality that no one ever succeeds at everything – at least on the first try — and that the only real failure is one that you learned nothing from,” ~Cindy Padnos.

I had a professor that applied for jobs continuously throughout his contract with the university.  I asked him if he was unhappy with his job and wanted a change.  'Oh no I'm satisfied with my job, I just want to make sure my interviewing skills are updated and also have the satisfaction to turn down jobs when I get an offer!' This was firstly a humorous way of updating interviewing skills and also a more personal satisfaction from turning down job offers if he received them.

The interviewing process can be stressful but when you get that dream job, you will feel accomplished.  For others who find jobs for the sake of finding a job they will have to work up or down to the employers' expectations.  Those who are at their dream jobs will find it hard to leave or find something else while those who are just working for the sake of it will find it hard to stay.  I have been to interviews where the panel asked very absurd questions that had nothing to do with the vacancy advertised.

Questions such as 
  1. 'If you were to marry someone who would you choose? (irrelevant and highly personal)  My comeback? 'When you go home today, please kneel beside your bed and ask God who it will be and then you can tell me, because I don't know)
  2.  If you don't get this job what would you do? (Look for another job?)
  3. What is your 5 year strategy? (to do what? have a baby and look after my parents?)
  4. If you can be anyone in the world, who would it be? (someone with a job?)
There are no particular rules to be excellent at interviews.  The few I remember from my Human Resources paper and Organizational Behaviour mentor is that 
  1. One must exude confidence when you walk into the room regardless of how you nervous you feel
  2. Look the panel/interviewers in the eye and smile (this may be different depending on culture, some cultures regard this as a rude gesture and defying authority)
  3. Take your time to answer questions and don't rush it
  4.  Be prepared and expect varying questions
Other useful ways to prepare include reading and understanding exactly what the vacancy is all about, also read up on some history/background of the organization holding the interview.  Moreover, be flexible for out of the blue questions. Lastly and not the least, it also doesn't hurt to pray a little asking for guidance and confirmation of where your feet should go. Good luck to all those who are searching for a job or sitting in interviews soon!


Ehhh..your grandmother was hot too!

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