There was a time when in the job circles, it used to be “What do you know?”, then people brandish Certificates upon Certificates and being a member of this Professional Body or that, however with the advent of websites like Google, YouTube and many others, the questions have changed, the goal post has been shifted to “What can you do with what you know?”.
Job Interviews for some people has become a daily occurrence in the economy for some people considering the state of the economy and the ever increasing competition being churned out by our citadels of learning nowadays. The supply of Labor as far out-weighed the demand that some Certificates or skills that used to be something extremely valuable and prestigious is now seen as a prerequisite and a given.
It is no gainsaying that some Job interviews could be so gruesome that the applicants could come out of a session and burst into tears feeling he or she has lost a shot at the job because of some set of questions that the Interviewer or panel asked and in his or her opinion might have flunked. Other times, some applicants might come out of such interviews feeling so depressed and self-doubting of their Certificates, Skills and Knowledge because of the way some interviewers drilled them.
I am not trying to Demonize Interviewers because it is not easy faced with so many options of candidates who all look good and dapper on paper with their Certificates, job experiences, skills et al., they would have to sieve candidates on other matrices: like ability to withstand pressure, Negotiation Skills, Value sets and others and that in itself could be a daunting task.
An applicant was in an interview recently and felt with his paraphernalia on his Resume, he could easily ace the interview process. He might have been having a swell day as he answered one question after another until a member of the panel, tilted her Glasses to the bridge of her nose and holding up his Resume, read some of his educational background and asked “Looking at all these, why is your educational life and work-life scattered like this? Hope you don’t take offense?”
The once confident applicant went into stutter-mode. If He had read all possible expose on potential questions in an interview and had a ready answer of each of them during his preparations, this definitely isn’t one of them. Should He have looked at the Education Requirement of the Job-role, he has most of the prerequisite and the other off-courses should be seen as an added advantage, but that question which he felt he brandish like Strength was suddenly thrown to him as a big weakness.
It was a time to test his ability to think under pressure, it was also a time to know how to rephrase a situation to either a defense or a weapon for glory. With a Science background in High School and Social Science Background as an Undergraduate and a little stint in the Creative industry, going into Personnel and Project Management, a small detour in Education and finally into Sales, it sure looks a little scattered.
The truth is some applicants are really like that. They hear this short term course is what is making waves; they all rush in just to get the Certificate in order to stand out of the pack (As at the time of writing, its Project Management, NEBOSH and Professional Membership Certificates that are the recent Fad). These thus lead to so many Certificates by the candidate and as an Interviewer it definitely means the questions have to Shift as earlier mentioned from “What do you know?” (Certificates, Skills-set, Job experiences and others.) To “What can you do with what you know?” (What is its relevance in our own scheme of Things; Our Organization, Job Role you are applying for, Vision and Mission of the Organization and others.)
The applicant didn’t feel offended, but it was his pivotal moment, He needed to see the Big Picture and painted the Picture vividly to the Panel and justified some of his detours as it relates to his Big Dream and the ways some of the detours and Scattered-ness would be of value to the Organization and that Specific Job Role. Yes, other questions were thrown at the applicant and he tried the best he could. He did feel like he had flunked the interview and the Job Role might not be given to him.
What is the take out of this Experience?
-Internet has changed the Landscape of things: You can be a anything without having a Certificate but by just watching and Practicing things you watch (YouTube etc.) or Read FREELY (free E-books, How-to Websites) or Listen to (Podcasts). It is no more “What I Know” because what I know can be known by anybody at even half the cost, it’s now “What Can I do with what I know”.
-Rephrasing a Context: With the write coinage you could say the same thing over and move from strength to Weakness or vice versa. If you don’t understanding it, you need to get close to Lawyers. By rephrasing a context, you can set yourself apart even with the same qualifications. An Example is Proficient Ms Excel User to Result Oriented Data-miner and Business Analyst using Ms Excel. It could also help in Negotiations.
-Seeing the Big Picture: Before you run and join the Bandwagon on the latest Fad or Fashion Certificate-wise, ask yourself “Does it fit into my own Big Picture?” To be able to do that, you also have to have your Big Dream, that idea, passion and business you would want to have went you leave paid employment. Even when you want to apply for a Job-role, does it fit? Would it connect in the end? I know a Doctor that graduated and didn’t get a job early, so he got a job as a Marketer in a Bank, Scattered Yes!. People felt he was stupid and all, he put his mind and all into the role. Then this E-commerce thing start to boom, to cut the story short, He sells Medical Gadgets or Equipment which he imports himself, he knows how to source for loans and presently he is His Own Boss.(Not a Marketer in a Bank, Neither in an Hospital attending to patients)
-What Relevance and Value is it to our Organization in terms of Costs, Process and Benefit: What makes a product stand out and leave the Shop shelves quickly is not necessarily the product packaging, Yes that matters too as it is one of the most important things that catches the eye of the shopper and makes him move to the product standpoint. The Shopper would pick up the Product usually reads through and all, then looks at the price and lastly the benefit. That process is all an Interview is. Some products or applicants might not have the best packaging but looking at their costs and the benefits one would gain could catapult them to the payment stand. Its really not Certificates anymore, its Numbers, Results and Portfolios and Reviews. If you as a Candidate have that, I feel the organization would be doing itself a disservice if you are not picked.
*** Please if you also have a SCATTERED LIFE STORY to Share as an inspiration to people it is also welcomed.