Just a Sign of the Times?: The Interview Process
It seems that interviews have become more and more unpredictable as the times have become more uncertain. Figuring out if you are suitable from the vacancy has become harder and harder, and it is especially disheartening when you find out in the interview that the real job explained doesn’t match the vacancy. This can happen here in the Netherlands as well as elsewhere.
When you first see the vacancy, there is that immediate sense of joy and hope. Could this be that dream job I’ve been waiting for for so long? But then when you settle down to respond with a cover letter, cv and any other documents required, practicalities settle in and you ask yourself, can I really handle this commute? Do the perks offset the cost to personal time? When writing the cover letter, you have to consider cultural differences. For instance, can you begin with “I”, the first person, or is that culturally specific. If there seems to be a question about the vacancy, do you take a chance and use the contact information or do you maintain your distance to not upset the application impression? And what about those tests either in the application or at the time of the interview. Personality tests, intelligence tests, language tests. Is it demoralizing, against your principles, or seen as a challenge to face and overcome.
When you are competing with 300 or 400 other applicants in some sectors, you have to be prepared for every ploy meant to weed you out. When you get an invitation and decide to take it, keep in mind that your intercultural communication skills will take center stage. Can you articulate your suitability for a job in a way that voices, not just your competency, but your curiosity, enthusiasm, and passion? In the end though, it is not just a matter of whether it is a match for them. You have to decide whether it is a match for you.
Barbara L. Ciccarelli, PhD