BY TERESA MULOMI
“You are presenting yourself to be judged and you are going to be judged. Never ever forget this when preparing for a job interview! “Mrs. Carolyn Kariuki, Senior Recruiter at Corporate Staffing services.
This Friday, Corporate Staffing Services held a free career talk event themed “Ace that interview: The Ultimate Recruiters Guide.” The event aimed at addressing the challenges candidates face before, during and after a job interview.
“On the upside, I have been lucky enough to be called for 10 interviews in a span of two months. On the downside, I have received not 10 but 11 regret emails notifying me that I was unsuccessful. What am I doing wrong? Why are so many companies opting not to hire me?” Francis, IT graduate
Mrs. Carolyn Kariuki, a seasoned Senior Recruiter at Corporate Staffing Services, provided practical insights to help candidates recognize what recruiters are looking for and empowered professionals with the techniques they needed to successfully tackle and triumph job interviews.
What are recruiters looking for?
Contrary to popular belief, your qualifications, skills and experience are not the only things recruiters look for.
“Your academic credentials, skills and experiences prove you can get the job done and will get your foot-in-the-door. However, as recruiters we also hire for attitude, personality and cultural fit. Talent will get you in the door but attitude, character and personality will keep you in the room” Mrs. Kariuki
Mrs. Kariuki urged professionals to exhibit the right attitudes when presenting themselves for job interviews because it’s possible to teach skill but almost impossible to change attitudes and personalities.
She urged candidates to be very strategic and purposeful in their job search in order to land jobs that aligned with their goals, career quest and traits. She went on to encourage candidates not to give up hope because sometimes, despite being the best and doing the best, one can be disqualified over something that is beyond their control.
On dress codes and first impressions.
“People don’t buy what you are selling. They buy you first.” Mrs. Carolyn Kariuki
You might be smart upstairs, but if you don’t present yourself in a smart way, your image may sabotage your intelligence.
Recruiters are human beings prone to judgment, so avoid sights, sounds and smells that may distract them from the key focus: giving you that job offer. Look, smell and dress the part.
On confidence, nerves and anxiety
“Prepare for the worst. “
“Poor interview preparation is the leading cause of nervousness, anxiety and lack of confidence”
“Always prepare well and prepare for the worst. If you think the interview panel will consist of 10 interviewees, double that number and prepare to answer interview questions from 20 panelists.” Mrs. Carolyn Kariuki
Mrs. Kariuki emphasized that fully understanding the job description, the company and identifying how one’s highlighted abilities fit in with the company is the key to tackling curbing self-doubt and anxiety.
“The secret lies in the job description. The job description is the jigsaw puzzle and you need to strive to be the missing part that will finally solve it.” Mrs. Kariuki
On answering tricky interview questions
“Don’t ever lie. Be honest, authentic and tactful.” Center your answers and questions around the company, your abilities, and how your abilities will enrich the company.’ Mrs. Kariuki
During the Q&A that followed the discussion, candidates were curious on how to answer tricky, controversial and sometimes downright ridiculous and unethical questions such as:
“Tell us about yourself”
“Are you married with kids?”
“Explain the unemployment gaps in your CV.”
“Why are you downgrading roles?”
“Have you ever been arrested? “
“Where do you worship? What does your husband do?”
According to Mrs. Kariuki, the best formula for navigating tricky questions is by first being honest, and then spinning potentially negative questions into positive stories that highlight one’s abilities and showcase how these abilities will impact the company’s bottom line.
She also urged candidates to be assertive and exercise sound judgment and tact when answering off-limit, controversial and unethical questions.
For the sake of goodwill and identifying interview errors, candidates were advised to always keep an interview journal, follow up on their job interviews with a thank you note, follow-up email or phone call regardless of whether they got the job or not.
Event attendee testimonials
“I am just from an interview that I totally messed up due to panic, self-doubt and anxiety. Thanks to Caro’s invaluable advice, I now know the key to effective interview preparation and will use this advice to take charge and ace my next job interview. “Biki, IT graduate
“I have turned down several jobs because recruiters always decide to give me client facing roles and I am a shy, reserved person. Caroline has encouraged me to believe in myself and try out new things since recruiters are seeing something in me that I probably don’t see in myself. Thank you Corporate Staffing for this eye-opening event.” David, IT professional
Attend our next free career talk session
The Free Career Talk session is a bi-monthly event that takes place every first and third Friday of the month.
The event was informed by the huge number of professionals who, for lack of proper knowledge and guidance, face many hurdles when hunting for jobs and establishing purpose-driven careers.
To be part of the next Career talk event centered on CV Writing on Friday, 6th, September 2019, email Kairu, at email@example.com with the subject headline “FREE CV WRITING CAREER TALK.” to be shortlisted for the next event.