Right now won’t be a bad time to strive for a higher role, a greater responsibility, a bigger cabin.
But if you think your experience makes your job-hunt a cakewalk, you are way off the mark in your optimism. The hiring managers out there know enough tricks to baffle the well-prepared-you and lay bare the weaknesses you swore to conceal till the apocalypse.
Interviews and bloodshed in battlefields have more in common than we realize, the only difference being the former is a tad more ruthless and brutal. You may have prepared for a job interview weeks in advance, or are justifiably confident enough to not prepare at all, riding on your experience of many years, but when you are sitting across the able with a bunch of a-holes who get strong jolts of pleasure when they make you squirm in your seat, you begin to question yourself as to whether you were only given a free pass by your bosses up until this point despite not being that good at what you do.
The day those men and women sitting in their echo chambers make you feel that way is the day your confidence lies in the corner shattered. For what it is worth, interviewers are conditioned to make you feel miserable about yourself. It does give them the all-important excuse to pay you only the amount that they think you are worth of, not the one you had in mind.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Regardless of how convincing they may sound, it’s mostly a bunch of BS. The question is, how do you call them out for their BS? More importantly, how do you prepare for the BS?
Here’s the thing: Interviewers do not use rocket science to shatter your confidence and make you feel lesser. All they do is ask a bunch of trick or trap questions in the interview
So here are a few traps, framed as questions, to set you up.
Question: Why is there a time gap in your employment history?
Trap: Are you the one who is used to taking long breaks between jobs?
As opposed to the common perception, a gap on your resume won’t make recruiters repel you. It’s alright to take a break to take care of some sick and old in the family, to fulfil some personal commitments, to overcome a setback. Having said that, do not lie to save your arse!
While you interviewer would be glad to catch you in your lie and have that impact your prospects or the salary they may offer you, they do appreciate honesty, especially if the reason is understandable and doesn’t look like it has taken the shine off your skills and made you less sharp.
If in the interview, you still appear as shiny and sharp as you were before the break, you have nothing to worry about.
Question: Why do you want to leave your current company?
Trap: Are you going to leave us too – coz we might be running things pretty much the same way
Rule number 1: Do not bitch about your current employer
Rule number 2: Do not bitch about your current employer
Rule Number n: Do not bitch about your current employer
Your safest bet – “It has been great, but my current role doesn’t anymore have enough challenges or opportunities that I want to take up moving forward”. This is the most clichéd of alibis you can come up with, and that’s why it works.
Question: Why should we hire you?
Trap: Do you even know the specific role you are contesting for, or you just saw a vacancy and showed up!
Be sure you have done your homework before you, well, show up! Know what the company is all about – Its clients, its area of expertise, but most importantly, its expectations from the individual claiming the position.
Question: What would someone, who doesn’t particularly like you, say about you?
Trap: Come on, speak up you goat! Chart down your weaknesses for me. Let me lash you with a whip!
This is the trickiest of all, and also the one where you can nail it. You would need to mold your not-so- impressive traits into your strengths. For example, if someone finds you too dominant, or too paranoid when it comes to panicking over the little loopholes here and there in a project, you can anytime come across as someone who has an eye for detail, and a go-for-broke ambition.
Question: What is your ideal job?
Trap: Is it even close to what we are offering you?
Who doesn’t have career aspirations? And, it’s okay to be honest about them. But don’t get all too dreamy. Do not get your sermon on about how you always wanted to be a playback singer when, as a matter of fact, you are sitting there for a Content Writer position. Trust the interviewer to feel jittery for their intuition about you quitting your job way before they would have preferred, only to give wings to your vocal cords.
It is a precarious little world, and that’s a precarious little chair you are seated on the judgement day. Do not get caught up in the excitement, for the job is not yours. Not Yet.