If you don’t have the exact skills or experience that an employer is looking for, you still may have a chance if you do adequate research.
Andrea Sobel, a headhunter for more than 20 years who’s now a hiring manager at Parsons Corp., told us that since you only have a limited amount of time to impress the interviewer, you need to market yourself strategically.
The key to this is doing your homework.
“You’re not completely ruled out if you don’t have what they’re looking for, but come in prepared with a strategy,” she says. “Don’t just sit there, and act like ‘Oh, I’ve never worked with that, so I’m not going to talk about it.’ “
It’s acceptable to admit that you don’t have exactly what the interviewer is looking for, but it’s also vital to make the connection between what experience and skills you do have to what the company needs.
Sobel told us that if you can make the connection sufficiently, the manager might be persuaded to thinking they can train you on the rest of the skills needed since you already have experience that’s similar.
The bottom line is that you need to appeal to the person interviewing you, and if your experience falls short, you need to show that you’ve come close enough. Whether you can adequately make that argument or not, you’ll still get credit for doing research ahead of time, and the interviewer notices that, Sobel says.
And don’t waste your time discussing irrelevant skills or experiences, which Sobel says happens often and that she’s had several experiences of wasting valuable time trying to get interviewers back on track when they “go on these tangents.”
“You want to make sure you’re talking about the topics that they want to hear. If you have five skills in your current job, but the company you’re interviewing for is only focusing on three of those skills, don’t waste too much of your time discussing the other two.”
“It’s being conscious of what the company wants, what you bring to the table and making sure you don’t waste too much time talking about what they don’t care to hear about.
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