Landing a job interview is a great first step—but you should always keep in mind that it’s only “half the battle.” To reach the career goals that are most important to you, you need to be successful at converting interviews into offers. What can you do to help ensure this vital conversion?
“Given the current market conditions, tech pros with in-demand skills should be able to turn roughly 50 percent of job interviews into offers,” noted Gregory Sparzo, managing director of search firm, ZRG Partners, LLC.
If you’ve been spinning your wheels when it comes to actually landing jobs, you may want to change your approach or behaviors. Here’s a look at some of the problems or issues that can keep you from consummating a deal.
You’re Blindly Selling Yourself
Pitching a canned, one-size-fits all personal value proposition (PVP) to a tech manager is sure to bring the hiring process to a screeching halt.
In today’s environment, tech job hunters can’t blindly follow a script, explained Graham Collins, national contingent workforce delivery manager for Oxford Solutions. To make it to the offer stage as a full-time candidate or contractor, you need to use a consultative approach.
Specifically, Collins says that a candidate must make a concerted effort to understand the hiring manager’s needs and pain points before presenting their skillset and expertise as the solution to their problems. That requires research before the interview process, as well as asking good questions of the hiring manager during the interview itself. If you figure out that your prospective employer is having trouble expanding its core app into mobile, for instance, you can explain how you can help with that endeavor.
Not Viewing the Hiring Process as a Two-Way Street
Now more than ever, employers expect tech candidates (especially contractors) to take a partnership approach to the evaluation and selection process.
Candidates who approach interviews with trepidation and think they are there to passively answer questions are not the type of tech worker that companies are looking for. “Successful candidates interview the employer as well,” Collins noted.
The hiring manager wants a candidate to play an active role in assessing their needs and the potential fit with your skills and background. In other words, they want the decision to move forward to be mutual. If you’re interviewing, come prepared with questions (complete with follow-up questions); make sure to display an active interest in the company and its operations.
Not Following Up
No matter how hot the market, or how talented you are, the hiring manager still wants to know that you are sincerely interested in the job and will be motivated to give it your all if hired.
In their book, not following up after an interview, at least once or twice, is a sign that you just don’t care. And remember that a thank-you note is absolutely essential.
Making a Sky-High Salary Demand
Even a candidate with specialized skills and an advanced degree in a high-paying field such as data science can blow themselves out of the water by demanding an over-the-top salary early in the hiring process, Sparzo warned.
He recently saw the impact firsthand when a client asked to see more candidates after a data scientist brazenly asked for an annual salary of $400,000. Your salary range or request needs to be based on market research and a verified estimate of what your skillset is worth, not anecdotal evidence.
Demanding a salary near the top of the range often eliminates candidates with average to below-average skills, Sparzo added. Sure, companies are willing to pay a premium—but only for top performers.
So if you bomb a portion of the technical interview, stay in the hunt by lowering your salary expectations. And try not to blurt out an “asking price” until you get to know each other better.
You’ve Become Complacent
It’s easy to take the hot job market for granted, especially if you’re landing lots of interviews. But have you gotten so overconfident that you’re taking preparation lightly (not to mention dressing too casually for an interview)? Becoming too complacent can derail your job search and even your career.
“If you get all the way to the end of the process two or three times and can’t close the deal, it’s probably you,” Sparzo said. “Look for patterns or topics where the conversation with the interviewer starts to feel chilly. Refining what you’re saying and how you’re saying it could be the key to turning more interviews into offers.”