If you are concerned about not being invited for interview, you should critically review your CV, application forms and covering letters. Are you making it clear that you know what the jobs you have applied for involve? Have you a clear picture of the sort of person employers are seeking? Are you being unduly modest about your accomplishments? Have you been focused enough in your approach or have you, at a more basic level, not really thought hard enough about what you want to do?
You cannot change your history but you can:
• expand, rearrange or alter the emphasis of your applications;
• get more relevant experience by enrolling on new courses, taking part in voluntary activities or finding a temporary job;
• make an appointment to see a careers adviser to discuss your concerns. If recruitment in your chosen profession or industry operates through a network of contacts, you may have to consider starting at a more junior level than you would normally expect in order to find out about potential openings.
GETTING FIRST INTERVIEWS BUT NOT SECOND INTERVIEWS OR OFFERS
If you are getting invited to interviews you can assume that, on paper, employers consider you capable of doing the jobs for which you have applied. However, once at interview, their opinion has somehow changed. Are you able to substantiate in person the messages given in your applications? Are you presenting a professional, confident image at interview? Look again at the sections in this booklet on preparing for interviews and ask yourself whether you have been making adequate preparation. Be honest with yourself – replay in your mind some of the answers you gave, particularly the ones you found difficult and consider whether you are actually pursuing the right career.
It is always worth asking an organisation for feedback after an interview; at worst they will say no and at best you will receive a critique of your performance. It may be that the impression that the interviewer formed of you strikes a chord with your own reflections but it may be that they have rejected you on entirely different grounds, which you can try to address. If it isn’t immediately obvious how you can improve your performance in future interviews, visit your careers service and see if an adviser can run through a mock interview with you so that you can discuss where you’re going wrong.
GETTING TO SELECTION CENTRES BUT NOT GETTING OFFERS
It is worthwhile making some notes of your own, while they are still fresh in your mind, about areas in which you did well at the assessment centre and areas where, in retrospect, you could have done better. Most employers will also give you feedback on your performance. If you were faced with a similar situation again, would you react differently? How could you demonstrate the qualities they want?