You have the experience!

I had the privilege today of being approached by a job seeker to help them with an upcoming interview. Why a privilege? I had originally contacted the individual with a view to having them apply for a role with my previous company. In the process of getting this set up I subsequently moved on and their application was handed to another member in the team and I hadn’t been in contact with them since

Then today I get a call from the person re their impending interview. The reason for sharing this story is because the help they wanted was guidance on how to have a successful interview. They mentioned that they were nervous (I would expect no less) and the reason for the nerves was that they weren’t sure if they had the experience necessary for the job.

I have a very strong belief when it comes to this area and that is “You have the experience! You simply don’t know how to recognise it, predominantly because the job spec language describes it using words different to you”

With this belief in mind I proceeded to take them through a coaching process which helped them align their experiences with the job roles. I outline the process for you at the tail end of this post.

The result, shortly after the session I received the following from the person

“It was great speaking to you Stephan, once again thank you for your help. You helped me realise certain things about myself that I did not consider before our conversation and gave me a different perspective on a number of issues that boosted my confidence.”

I will be following up with them once they have had the interview to see where this leads.

The process

1. Take the job specification, read through it and highlight (only words, not whole sentences)

a. The key objective of the role

b. The key activities/tasks/responsibilities which if done will contribute to the achievement of the objective

c. Key personality traits etc

The reason for the above activity is to sort the wood from the trees and isolate only critical information. This demystifies and clarifies

2. Capture the info (either in bullet point or mind map etc)

You will use this late on so make sure there is enough space around each word/phrase to add other info

3. Write out each element of your life where you were responsible for tasks. Make a note of your age at the time, the task and your responsibilities concerning that task

This activity brings into focus everything you have done and will be where you draw your experience from

4. Assign each of your life experiences to one or more of the job spec responsibilities.

You should at this point notice similarities in things required of you and things you have done

5. For each life experience reflect on and capture your best example (ideally two) which brings the situation, task (the job) and the action you took and results you achieved

This is where you start finding specific examples which illustrate your experience in doing that task

6. For each example write this out in a story form using the S.T.A.R model

Situation (I was working as)

Task (my responsibility was)

Action (in a specific instance, I did the following)

Results (because of my actions the following occurred: made or saved money; increased quality/quantity; saved time etc) – Make sure to capture specific facts and figures

There you have it a simple process to help you realise you are experienced and help you give quality examples to competency based interviews




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