“I am taking an MBA because I want to take a leap forward in my career and I need advice with respect to approaching an interview”. This is how EAE students explained their own personal cases in the employability conference held at the Barcelona Campus. Changing sector or job is no easy task and it is a challenge being faced by lots of students at the School who have been working for years but now want or need to move into a different sector. How should they approach selection process in this case? To respond to these concerns, the School’s campus in Carrer Aragó was the venue for a session especially designed for Part-Time students, focusing on job interviews.
The workshop was run by María Gómez, a recruitment specialist at S&You, who discussed some of the main problems that arise when we approach a job interview. In a highly dynamic and participative session, students shared their experience and all agreed that the time they have felt best in an interview is when they have felt a connection with the interviewer and have been able to show who they are very naturally. At the opposite end of the spectrum, when they anticipate the interview with trepidation, they tend to have negative experiences, as is the case “when we don’t know what strengths and weaknesses we have that we should highlight at that point”, explained María Gómez.
Should we ask questions at an interview? In the recruitment consultant’s opinion, we certainly should because it shows interest, but we must take care of how we formulate our questions. In the same way, another question asked by one of the students was whether or not we should ask the salary, to which the expert replied that “it depends. It is best not to bring it up until they mention it, but if that doesn’t happen, then we should ask”. When we do discuss the issue, it is always important to give a pay threshold with respect to our salary expectations.
She also emphasized that recruiters review the candidates’ curriculums to ascertain their hard and softs skills. “In an interview, we have to underline our professional achievements, but also our personal accomplishments”, explained María Gómez. For instance, if I am an athlete, it is clear that I am committed, taking on certain obligations and self-discipline, which can all perfectly be applied in a professional environment.
Moreover, it is crucial to reformulate negative aspects into positive points in order to change and sell them. “If I have previously left a job or been fired, I have to turn these situations around and explain what I have gained and learned from the experience”. The professional then told the students that, if they have sent an application but the company has not called them back, they should remember that “recruitment is not an exact science. If we do it effectively, you can guarantee that a good application is selected, but you can never be sure that you have picked the best of all the candidates in the process”.
In María Gómez’s opinion, one of the biggest problems detected by interviewers is that the candidates do not know themselves very well. “It is important to identify my competences and have a clear overview of my professional career, as well as knowing how to sell myself in an interview”. To do so, it is not enough simply to say that you are a leader or that you work well in a team but rather you have to explain why you excel as a leader and are good at teamwork. “This demonstrates a level of self-awareness, which is often the foundation of success”.