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Understandably decision-makers will do everything in their power to ensure that this doesn’t happen. This includes thoroughly evaluating each candidate they interview – weighing up their pros and cons, and quickly identifying any doubts they have or risks they might foresee.
As a jobseeker, it’s vitally important that you understand this, and have prepared thoroughly to overcome any doubts the interviewer might have of you, long before you even set foot in the interview room. These are the four most common doubts:
The interviewer will be looking for the best match of skills and experience when interviewing candidates, and rightly so. Here’s what to do if you are lacking any:
As part of your interview preparation, you may have highlighted areas on the job advert which match your skills and therefore are planning to emphasise these in the interview. However, it is also important to look at the areas in which your skills may not fully correlate and take note of these.
If you are lacking a key skill required for the role, consider whether this is something you can begin to learn in advance. Not all skills can be learnt to perfection in a short timescale, but showing commitment to learning and improving is a great start.
If the interviewer explains their reservations about this outright, you should respond by emphasising that you are a quick learner and are always looking to expand your skill set. Perhaps highlight a time when you quickly learnt a new skill or proactively undertook a training course in your own time.
Taking a break from your career out of choice can be extremely fulfilling and worthwhile. Of course, there may also be unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances that have led to employment gaps on your CV. Either way, during your interview, you must ensure that you are able to clearly and honestly outline why these gaps have occurred during the interview to help negate any doubts your interviewer may have. Here’s how:
You should be aware of any gaps in your CV before the interview. Ideally, you can demonstrate the benefits they brought you in the past and could bring you in the new position. This is a topic the interviewer is likely to bring up during the interview. Thus, being prepared for such questions will help you explain your reasons and make it clear that you weren’t sitting around doing nothing. Were you travelling? Were you volunteering? Were you unemployed? It’s important to be honest here.
Try not to be overwhelmed by your nervousness. Otherwise, the interviewer may not see your full potential and develop doubts about your suitability for the position. Here’s some advice:
If you know you are prone to nerves, you will need to do more preparation for the interview. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel, and the less nervous you will be. Rehearse answers to common interview questions out loud, plan your journey, get a good night’s sleep and ensure your interview outfit is ironed and ready to go.
If the hiring manager thinks you may overqualified for the role just by reading your CV, they will likely come into the interview room with preconceived doubts and reservations. For example, they may think you will not be engaged in the role and will seek out pastures new quickly, or that you will simply be too expensive. If you are considering roles which are comparatively less demanding or less well-paid, it is important to understand that you may need to work hard during the interview to tackle these assumptions. This advice will help you:
To negate the interviewer’s doubts, it’s important to show the interviewer that you really want the job and this job. Do your research, come armed with questions and take notes. Your passion and excitement for the job could really help to convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the job, regardless of your level of experience.
As stated previously, one of the main concerns a hiring manager will have about an overqualified candidate is that they will go elsewhere. If possible, try to demonstrate to the interviewer that you have a solid career history, are loyal and have enjoyed long tenures at previous employers.
Should the interviewer air their concerns that you may be too experienced for the role, be honest and open with them about why you applied in the first place. Are you looking to take a step back and would like less responsibility? Is money less of an issue now, thus leaving you able to pursue a role you are really interested in? Are you looking to make a career change? They will respect and appreciate your transparency here – responding in this way will also help the interviewer understand your reasoning.
It is essential that you are well-prepared. Before the interview, take a look in the mirror – both literally and figuratively. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and try to realistically assess what might raise doubts. This will help you will feel more confident and ready to clear up any doubts, so you can ultimately convince the interviewer that you are the perfect match for the job – even a long time after you received your first paycheck!