Job Interviewing Skills and Challenges

A recent Wall Street Journal article, lamented at the lack of qualified applicants for job openings. More than 600,000 jobs openings in the manufacturing segment remained vacant in 2011, due to substandard skills. We are not talking about science, technology, engineering and math skills, known as STEM skills. We are talking about interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, and motivation. Oh yeah, being drug free helps as well.

In the Manpower Group’s 2012 Talent Shortage Survey, almost 20% of the employers complained of a lack of soft skills among applicants. As more of our communication is via electronic media, our interpersonal skills have softened. For young job applicants entering the work force, these skills may have never been developed. Email, Twitter and Facebook have embraced poor writing skills.  When the majority of your social interaction occurs via social media, our Face 2 Face skills become flaccid and under developed. Spell-check helps in your resumes and applications but not in one on one communication.

Employers complain of a lack of dedication and work ethic by the younger generation. I am sure each generation complains about the declining work ethic of each subsequent generation. Considering that 1 of every 16 people have experienced narcissistic personality disorder, it is not surprising that more applicants have a sense of entitlement.

A recent tweet by Ohio State third-string quarterback Cardale Jones illustrates both poor grammar and a sense of entitlement: ”Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS.,”  I am sure he regrets sharing his feelings, which went viral. It has become nearly impossible to retract our digital tail.  Our digital droppings are forever retrievable by future employers. It is incumbent upon us as parents and teachers to impart this wisdom on our youth.

Even a puppy dog knows not what it has not learned. Our schools must focus on the importance of writing and English skills in all subjects. As Professor Nalani Ambady has demonstrated on her studies of first impressions, they can be formed in less than two seconds. Our posture, gait, smile and handshake are so important. Maintain eye contact with your conversational partner. You want to remain genuine, but soften the hard edges that many of us possess.

Practice is important. Obtain style advice from any clothing store or find a mentor that has already succeeded. It is always better to overdress. Practice your entrance and obtain critical input. Do a little research on the company to demonstrate you keen interest. Take a dry run the day before to the interview location. This will assist you in identifying parking, judge the distance from home and visualize your entrance. Buy a watch, so that you can arrive fifteen to thirty minutes minutes early and de-stress. It demonstrates your interest and motivation. Separate yourself from the herd. Check Google for the most common interview questions and practice a response. Use a recorder and replay your response. After the interview, send a short email to the interviewer thanking them for the opportinity.

With 23 million unemployed or underemployed, you need all the help you can to separate yourself from the competition.

For more information on this subject, read Face 2 Face




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3 Responses to Job Interviewing Skills and Challenges

  1. Pedro COMPETENTOBS says:

    More and more in economy it´s about “knowledge workers” & experts. Not all of us can be rockstars/professional sports legends. Reality check as you said Mike. I loved this article, I´m from HRM:). Thank you Mike!

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