Wanting a job, understanding the qualifications required, seeking out some really strong industry background material and focusing on the leading players the sector are all very laudible activities in the process of getting yourself hired to work in your dream industry but sometimes you need to be able to not walk the walk or even walk the talk but simply talk the talk.
OK so let's think for a moment about how not being in control of language makes us feel. Being in another country and not talking the language fluently can be pretty stressful and confusing and creates a real barrier immediately to successful communication indeed being in another part of your native country and being exposed to another dialect or accent can be pretty difficult sometimes; so imagine that stress and that feeling of not being understood and put it into the context of the interview process.
I have interviewed many many people. I have seen some awesome talent and heard some impressive interviews but what can really make the difference; especially when we are focusing on second or even third jobs, is the candidates comfort and fluency in the language of both industry generally and especially the sector for which I am recruiting. Does that sound daunting, sorry. Actually it is perhaps more accessible and easy to obtain than just having to have ten years experience in the industry.
Advice. Well read lots of industry related material; trade magazines, blogs, postings, on-line reports and web-site information. Gather the clues of what that industry uses as a palate of words.
Linked-In. Join groups in that industry, see what the hot topics are at the moment. Interviewers love hot topics, they are industry relevant and give you a chance to show them that they know your / their stuff. Also ask questions on the group forums - the people providing the answers will be surpirsingly generous, people want to attract talent into their industry it is a tiny bit of reflected glory and they are also looking after their own interests by attracting the best people into their industry!
Mirroring - use the same language as the job ad and interviewer(s). If they call a sales lead an 'in' then you should too. It makes people feel relaxed if others use the same jargon - there is a also power thing involved but essentially you can do yourself a favour by adopting their language / jargon lead! You can generate a genuine sense of belonging and of being of the same 'career tribe' and that creates a buy in that can really benefit you.
The second strand of this process in the language of the specific employer that you have targetted. Do they call they customers clients or customers? Do they call their employees employees, partners, staff or people?
Their web-site will of course always give huge clues on this and my good friend Linked-In will help too. Same advice as above; find people that work within the culture and experience their vocabulary and learn from it.
Remember three things; the interviewer is nervous too and that they are usually very proud of their employer and of the industry they have invested their career in and so using every chance to call things the same name as they do with as much underpinning research and understanding as possible can surely only do you good!
So spend a little time as part of your preparation for interview routine focusing on this bit, often ignored or not sufficiently prioritised but a great way to build bridges, earn trust and demonstrate cultural fit; through language.
That's it I guess - talking the talk.
I have been thinking this week about this word employability. It is being mentioned in the loftiest political circles as well as in schools, colleges and universities, its also being considered by employers and I am told that even parents are managing to suppress their understandable distraction with qualifications, to mention it.
But what does the word actually mean, shall we dwell for a moment on finding a working definition and then using that to inform our thinking further?
Good old Wikipedia says....
While there is no singular definition of employability, a review of the literature suggests that employability is about work and the ability to be employed, such as:
1. The ability to gain initial employment; hence the interest in ensuring 'key skills', career advice and an understanding about the world of work are embedded into the education system.
2. The ability to maintain employment and make 'transitions' between jobs and roles within the same organisation to meet new job requirements and
3. The ability to obtain new employment if required ie. to be independent inthe labour market by being willing and able to manage their own employment transistions between and within organisations.
I must say that for me, the first bullet is the most resonant just now. I’d really like to focus on the sentence ‘an understanding about the world or work’ and it being ‘embedded in the education system’; for me this is the crux of the whole employability debate.
But who is responsible for this huge undertaking?
Can we expect the educators, that have been driven for a long time by their performance being judged purely in terms of the academic, to be able to change over night?
Do our parents need to acknowledge that the A Level / Degree certificates are no longer enough for a career, unlike back in the 70's / 80's??
Is it the employers; should they offer more internships, placements and apprenticeships to young people?
Do commercial expert consultants like Consortio need to be welcomed in to the debate and have their knowledge and experience celebrated instead of being seen as competition by everyone...?
Or maybe should young people take responsibility for their own career and employability skills from an earlier age?
Tough questions.....my view is actually a bit of all of the above because none of the stakeholders in the process are able, on their own, to solve the problem in its entirity and indeed none of them have the know how to be the sole solution. So cooperation, mutual purpose and communication are key to bringing all the stakeholders together and to move the issue forwards quickly.
We know that we, at Consortio, are an important part of the solution.
We know that everyone needs to be part of a coordinated plan.
And we definitely know that unless we solve this sharpish that we will be failing our future talent and impacting our future economic capability.... serious stuff!
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