How often have you hung up the phone after a phone interview feeling lesser than you did 15 minutes ago? “Bloody hell, that didn’t go well”. You just know that you didn’t impress. While you realise you didn’t fail to any epic proportions, you also know that you didn’t say anything to stand out. That’s the thing, isn’t it? Your interviewer needs you to stand out – whether that’s personality or just some incredibly intelligent profile that you were able to weave into that call. Me? I am not great at interviews, I’m average. Average as in I don’t suck, I don’t stumble over my words and my nervousness doesn’t usually show on me. For me, as it is for most introverted professions, my work speaks more for me than I ever could. Ask me to make a presentation and you’d think I’m illiterate.
I am colloquial, casual and laid back in person. When I write — I can be more. I can be anything. At some point in time, however, the way you poise yourself, your body language, your fluidity in communication and all these things become relevant. These are the tools to represent the fundamentals that they’re looking to rent – your skill. But even if your skills are there, the work just does not speak for itself – you will have to do that. You are your defendant’s representation. You decide whether you win the case or lose it.
When I am called into an interview for which I’m acutely aware of being underqualified – I get nervous and reasonably so. I don’t lie on my CV or cover letter, these people know that I don’t have half of the requirements they mentioned on their spec but still, they called me in and that’s for one of two reasons. They are those that don’t bother reading through an applicant’s profile and just call them in and those that hopefully, saw something that could potentially make up for the lack of bases covered.
We all have gaps in knowledge, required experience that we just have not had the opportunity to learn and when you’re scrolling through the job posting and your heart drops into your stomach reading the mountain of required knowledge necessary – you wonder whether you even ought to apply. I mean surely there are tonnes of people out there who do tick all the boxes. But you apply regardless because you may have something to offer that someone else doesn’t. Perhaps it’s a skill that you have that they didn’t even consider but will most certainly come in handy. It doesn’t have to get so technical; perhaps your ability to teach, you’re independent or your general demeanour is one that would thrive in an office that is naturally a fast-paced environment.
It’s all about you
You just don’t know, what you do know is that you have influence in turning the odds in your favour by doing everything you can on your end. Prepare, research, practice and if after all that you run into an automated rejection email, don’t wonder why the hell you even bothered. Why? Because you have unwittingly picked up new experience, you are slowly adjusting to the kind of awkward social situation an interview presents and after a few more of these you’ll be able to communicate more closely to how you organically think rather than stumbling along the way while trying to express yourself through a medium you’re not used to. Your mind set is ultimately the deciding factor.
Embody your personality, because it’ll naturally standout along with your strengths if you give it way. But instead, we tend to embody your anxiety fused with fear and self-awareness. Even if you do not believe it yourself, you will always have something to offer that your fellow applicant does not, even if you can’t initially put your finger on it – in time you will.