Finding a job in February was already no guarantee, despite the labor market being at its peak. Five months into a global pandemic hasn’t made applying for jobs any easier. Rising unemployment and a recession that is causing the European economy to shrink by 8.7 percent are also not helping in finding a dream job. Or any function for that matter. Susie Song is a recruiter and HR specialist for Google. In the past, she also worked in a similar role at LinkedIn and Samsung, among others. She has conducted thousands of job interviews over the past seven years. In these challenging times, Song finds that friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers turn to her for advice on finding work. Song therefore listed her golden tips for Business Insider for fishing a new job. Get help from someone within the company you want to work for
Applying naturally starts with a good resume, a well-arranged LinkedIn page and a flawlessly written cover letter (or e-mail). It is a natural way to end up somewhere in the pile of suitable candidates. But how do you get on top of that paper tower?
By hiring someone within the company you want to work for.
According to Song, employee referrals are the best way to get your application across. Moreover, these ‘insiders’ bring an advantage: you can count on updates during the application process. “And if you are in the final selection round with candidates with the same qualifications and successful interviews, a good word from a prospective colleague can be the deciding factor,” explains Song. Then it has to be someone who knows you and your work well, she emphasizes. If you don’t know anyone in the organization, that’s not a disaster, says Song. “Find out who works in the team or department where you want to start.”
Use LinkedIn, Twitter or other social networks to find that person. “Ask if they have 15 minutes to answer questions about their role and the team. Tell us about yourself and ask for a reference.” In a polite way, of course. Be realistic about your suitability
Books have been written about how best to write a resume. It should describe a logical career progression and contain no annoying mistakes. And if the spelling isn’t perfect, you can wave at that job anyway. According to Song, the biggest mistake applicants make is an error of judgment: whether they are qualified for the position they have in mind. “Be realistic: are you suitable for this job?”
Due to the pandemic, there is more supply than demand for staff, so even the most qualified or even overqualified applicants will struggle.According to the HR expert, it is important that applicants include the keywords that are mentioned in vacancies in their CV. For example, note that words like ‘team connection’, ‘conceptual thinking’ or ‘leader’ are important to the HR employee reading your profile. Another helping hand is to adapt your resume for each application. With the above keywords, but also taking into account the minimum requirements of the vacancy. According to Song, those are more important than you think. “You may feel that your resume shows exactly that you are suitable, but many companies mindlessly check off a list of requirements.”
Read also: What is scrum? A clear explanation in 500 words.
So it’s up to you to explicitly emphasize those requirements in your resume. Preparation, preparation and preparation
“So… What exactly does this company do?” This is one of the questions that will guarantee you won’t get the job you’re applying for. Preparation is the key to success, Song believes. Before you walk into a job interview, there are several things to consider. Like the impression you make during the first five minutes of the job interview. If you are late or rude to the receptionist then you can shake it. In the job interview itself it is important that you are assertive, open to questions about work situations and can identify your own strengths and weaknesses. “It’s so common for applicants to walk away after the interview and think, ‘I could have answered that one question much better,'” Song notes. Preparation helps prevent these kinds of annoying ‘what-if’ thoughts. The STAR method offers a solution. This action-oriented interview method is used by many companies in job interviews, René Jansen of HRM consultancy RaymakersvdBruggen previously explained to Business Insider:
“STAR means: ‘Situation, Task, Action, Result.’ By asking how an applicant approached a project in his or her current or previous job, what his or her role was in it and what result was achieved in the end, you get a good image of how someone is put together. Presenting a case study to an applicant is less effective in that regard. Because that usually leads to vague and abstract answers.”
You can use STAR as an applicant against the HR employee, as it were, Googles HR expert Song tips. Anticipate these tricky questions by looking at your own resume. For every project or job you’ve had, think of questions that fit STAR. Invest in the relationship with HR
A job interview isn’t just successful when you get the job, it’s one of the tips introverts learn to make the interview experience more enjoyable.As an applicant, you will have to learn to deal with rejections, especially in the corona economy. Like Bert and Ernie sing: ‘Make something of it’. “Recruitment is about building long-term relationships,” says Song. “A company is made up of many different people. It is rare that you are really unsuitable for the company unless you exhibit hostile or toxic behavior during the interview.”
You were rejected because you are not the right person for the position – or maybe someone else was just a little bit better. This means you could be a good candidate for other positions within the company – or even for the same job once you gain a little more experience.
Song therefore recommends building a relationship with the HR employee or recruiter. After the rejection, ask for feedback and stay in touch. Work on updating your knowledge and skills so that you will be a better fit for a company the next time you apply. Read more about applying:
- 13 interview questions to ask – and make things less awkward
- You can do this if you realize after a job interview that you completely screwed up 1 question
- 22 things not to say in a job interview if you don’t want to appear rude
- With these tricks you can easily refresh your LinkedIn profile and get offers from recruiters faster.