Merissa Yeow is client solutions director , Asia at Korn Ferry Futurestep.
Should I take an interim job in an inferior role just to show recruiters I am occupied?
I am an engineer in a very specific field and I have been out of work for six months now so frustration is beginning to get the better of me. I have had a couple of interviews, one of which led to a second one, but nothing beyond that.
This is the first time in my life I have been out of work for longer than a couple of weeks. I am tempted to apply for positions I am less interested in, simply to show that I am at least willing and keeping myself occupied. Do you think this is a good idea?
There is no denying that trying to find the right job is frustrating and challenging. In an increasingly competitive market where many organisations are changing and transforming, it can be difficult to clearly understand what a hiring manager or organisation is looking for in the “ideal” candidate.
Finding the “right” role, passing the often increasing number of interview stages and getting hired does take time, a lot of effort, research and preparation. However, before you start that process, it might be worth taking a step back to consider what truly is the “right” role for you.
Is it the exact same type of role as you were in previously? Does this role/function still exist in organisations in the same way, or have the focus and requirements changed? As many businesses work to streamline their organisational structures, job functions and requirements are changing.
More and more hybrid positions are being created, where multiple roles are combined with the expectation that the ideal hire will have the ability and experience to cover a broader range of responsibilities and job scope.
It is also worth considering if the skills and experience that you have will be transferable to other functions. Could this position exist in other organisations or industries that might not seem to be obvious targets?
It is also important to understand what the right position and organisation looks like for you. Is it the organisation culture , scope of the role, learning and development opportunities? What are your short-, medium- and long-term goals for your career? What makes you happy, motivated and engaged? What have you enjoyed or disliked about your previous positions/organisations?
By reviewing some of these factors, this might open up a broader range of positions that you could consider applying for.
In addition to trying to identify what is the “right” role, interview preparation and research is essential. Beyond technical skills and experience, think about the soft skills and competencies that will be necessary for success in the role. Increasingly, many organisations are putting a larger emphasis on a candidate’s culture fit and how their values align to those of the business.
Although impossible to predict exactly what might be asked in an interview, it is helpful to research and think about what competencies might be important for the role.
Prepare and practise your responses to behavioural interview questions where candidates are asked to give real-life examples of different situations where they have demonstrated different competencies, e.g. managing conflict.
The job search process is filled with many frustrations and setbacks. But persevere, do your research and challenge yourself as to what the “ideal” role could look like. You need not dive in and take the first thing that comes along, but, with your experience and the right approach, you can rest assured the job you want will materialise.
I wish you all the best with the job search.