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Interview Related Question (forecast: dull)

So if that hasn't put you off, and knowing that only 7.3 people still contribute to the threads on WAN not expecting much help but this is literally Driving me Miss Daisy, and people have been chipping in on another single issue thread so here goes.

Several months ago I didn't apply for a job (hold the front page CEN). I didn't apply for this job because I didn't have the experience to fulfil the essential criteria. Most, if not all, job applications have a list of essential and desirable criteria. I expect only those who fulfil all the essential have a chance of being short listed for interview. Particularly for something in a technical field. Ok so if you have C++ programming but not SQL I expect you could argue that it would not be difficult to pick this up fairly quickly, but if you had no programming then what?

Another colleague got the job, so what. Well the other colleague applied and was interviewed while not having any of the essential criteria. Then someone else is seconded to head the department, a few people get a chance to do some job gap filling and a seconded post I don't think was even advertised goes to my colleague who in my view shouldn't have even been interviewed. Now they are getting the training so if/when the next vacancy comes up there is an open door for this secondment to be made permanent.

Am I being stupid for thinking essential means must be able to do it? I know that a lot of workplace language is complete bollocks but surely some things have to mean what they mean?

Published by foolscap (not active) at 10:03pm on Tue 6th January 2015. Viewed 4,403 times.

Amazing! But -- -- having ALL the essential criteria is NOT essential! Having more than other applicants, however, is highly desirable! The committee or boss or whoever has drafted a list of criteria that the ideal person will have - often it's unrealistic. So your colleague got the job - even though they didn't have all the criteria. On paper they were worse you but in fact they were better than you because you didn't apply!

Of course, sometimes an essential criteria is essential (to avoid screw-ups later) - eg Airline Pilot - must not be blind and deaf - or more sensibly, teacher - must have QTS number.

Sometimes it's a question of "Can you do the job?" Maybe not on Day 1, after all every job needs a bit of familiarization - but within a short timeframe. And is the "essential criterion" that you are lacking compensated by overkill elsewhere including desirable skills/experience?

IMHO, when a large number of applications are received the initial sifting is often given to some office junior with a limited brief to discard all those who don''t meet the criteria - if this is you you'd better make sure there are other "things to buy" that will make that person think "this looks interesting - worth meeting". Not easy!

The purpose of the application is to get an interview - the purpose of the interview is to get the job. Don't write yourself off by prejudging the competition and the client and missing out a step.

Of the 7.3 WANners, I'm the 0.3!

Published by stephen at 11:35pm on Tue 6th January 2015.

Someone in that other team asked if I was applying and I said 'I don't have the essential, how can I even apply?'. My problem now that I've been passed over by people who haven't been nearly as long and were only doing the same job as me; I cannot let it go in my head.

It has completely destroyed any remaining self worth I had. Partly because everyone else who has been in that team has moved onto something else, except me; and also any trust in my new manager who has no practical knowledge of what I do, every time I have I got back management toss but no real help so I no longer bother.

I've never felt more depressed, and I know that I can do the work but would admit I suck at interviews (but have started looking elsewhere), I can't do the bullshit corporate speak nor suck up to people, I just get on with the job.

Published by foolscap (not active) at 1:26am on Wed 7th January 2015.

I was the same as you FS, I stayed in the same team for 12 years because I assumed that you needed to forfill all the essential criteria and didn't bother applying for anything anywhere else. It wasn't until my then manager (who was really good) explained to me that you have to push yourself foward and basically blag it in everything you do. Apply for anything you fancy, the worst that can happen is that you don't get shortlisted.

You can also do a bit of research into the role you are applying for, you can also use your current experience to imply that you have more experience than you have - for example you might not have experience in SQL queries, but you have, say, extensive knowledge of Visual Basic in Excel and Access so you are familiar with the concept and are confident that you can do it. It's not quite lying, more bending the truth. A few years back I had an interview for a Systems Officer job and I actually told the interview panel that I didn't have a clue how to do Macros and such like, but I usually just googled it until I found what I want, then copied and pasted it in. They offered me the position.

It just goes to show that all the management speak and processes is complete and utter bollocks doesn't it?

Published by Silent Rob at 8:34am on Wed 7th January 2015.

Foolscap, don't get down about this... you only didn't get the job because you didn't apply. I heard something on the radio the other day about how some people tend to look at job descriptions and think "there's half of that I know I can do, I'll go for it", and other people think "there's half of that I can't do, I better not waste my time". It sounds like you're in the second camp, but there's no reason to stay there... just start applying for anything you think you might be able to do with a bit of training/googling the answer.

Published by Free Will at 10:01am on Wed 7th January 2015.

All the job ads I've seen specially in computing ask for the moon on a stick. If you actually had all the skills
they asked for, you wouldn't be accepting the salary they are willing to offer...

I think its more important finding someone who fits in well with the team, and is a quick learner, if you have those two skills you should be fine picking up / learning the new skills you need to get the job done.

Published by tyres at 11:05am on Wed 7th January 2015.

^ This is exactly why there has been so much shift in the last 2-3 years, possibly started by the economy savings. Once one head honcho left and another they would join up roles, reduce the salary and add a few more responsibilities, and wonder why no one applied. I haven't had a line manager who gave a shit about me for probably at least 2 years. Alas our office isn't above any flight paths so there isn't even the vaguest possibility of a Donnie Darko moment.

Published by foolscap (not active) at 2:31pm on Wed 7th January 2015.

I'm really sorry to read you're at such a low ebb fs. I can highly recommend the Richmond fellowship for your situation.

I had a full-blown, double-whammy of a nervous breakdown nearly two years ago. I was in a very bad way but concluded my only option was to drag myself up and out by my fingertips. I took all the help I could get, including from RF, and made a full, and relatively quick recovery considering how bad I was. I'm not assuming you're in the same state I was in but they were brilliant for work-related guidance including running workshops on CV writing, interviewing etc.

If you want to chat further about this privately please do pm me. Or we can continue here. I have no shame (wild, maniacal laughter ensues :-P ).

Published by Boudicea Bambaataa at 6:44pm on Wed 7th January 2015.
This reply has been edited, last edit at 6:46pm on Wed 7th January 2015.

I think I may have been doing the same thing FS but on reading the replies on here I might well start going for everything interesting regardless of actual skills (well, obviously with some consideration, not about to start applying for stupid things!). I have applied for some entry level roles as I wish to move out of the field I'm currently in and now wonder if I'm selling myself seriously short but then I'm not confident either.
Been languishing in the same role for too many years, it was a lovely place to work but since a takeover has gone downhill rapidly and with two rounds of redundancies (it was a small co but now owned by a massive parent who don't appear to give a stuff about employees) in the last year moral is pretty low and the whole mood of the office has changed.

Published by Cmouse at 7:51pm on Wed 7th January 2015.
This reply has been edited, last edit at 8:24pm on Wed 7th January 2015.

Been languishing in the same role for too many years, it was a lovely place to work but since a takeover has gone downhill rapidly and with two rounds of redundancies (it was a small co but now owned by a massive parent who don't appear to give a stuff about employees) in the last year moral is pretty low and the whole mood of the office has changed.

Have experienced exactly this, as well as the thing of staying somewhere too long and ending up working for a manager who doesn't really know you or care why you were originally hired, what previous managers valued you for etc.

I think I'm also an 'essential' means essential person, but IT definitely has a reputation for asking for years of experience in things which have barely been invented that long, so pinches of salt get added. As said above, they are seeing how much of what they're asking for they can get.

My first job was on the side of software research and when that project ended they let some of us go with pretty specialised and/or in-house knowledge that was 'advanced', but not familiar to most other employers. I basically had to go into my next job interviews and do what I considered to be a stretch -- convincing them that I could learn Java etc. having not done it professionally (had used C++ but never done a large or commercial project in that either).

The thing that gave me confidence in that interview was being able to say 'here goes nothing'. Because I didn't think I met the requirements, I could therefore think of any success as a bonus, and if it was a failure at least I'd had a chance to see what interviews for Java were like. I think this actually made me less nervous than fearing I'd give a bad impression of something I claimed expertise in.

Published by bad-timing at 12:24am on Thu 8th January 2015.
This reply has been edited, last edit at 12:26am on Thu 8th January 2015.

Sorry, I didn't mean for my reply to be all about me. The point I was trying to make, heavy on context, was that the Richmond fellowship is an organisation that I think could help you:

Published by Boudicea Bambaataa at 11:31am on Thu 8th January 2015.

Thanks for all the replies.

I've not quite gone over the edge but ever since losing the rest of the team to better jobs it's literally the only thing I can think about at work and a lot of the time outside it too. I think I managed to let it go over the xmas break but anything work related and it's the #1 issue in my head, and #2 (sorry, couldn't pass on the shit pun).

On Monday I got back to find out someone in the other team is leaving so there is a permanent job going and I know I have to apply, but also know I have very little chance and might even go postal or crack up if/when I don't... and I'd have to buy some new clothes for interview as I gained a size with the knee injury last year.

Published by foolscap (not active) at 11:13pm on Thu 8th January 2015.

Good to hear you haven't gone over the edge, but if you're close, you need to look after yourself so you don't lose your balance and topple over. Again, the offer of help and support stands (and always will).

Published by Boudicea Bambaataa at 2:20pm on Fri 9th January 2015.
This reply has been edited, last edit at 2:21pm on Fri 9th January 2015.

Agree with BB. The thing about things like this is that you sometimes don't realise how bad you are when it is happening. Occasionally it's not until you look back when you're better and you realise just how ill you were.

I'm not trying to worry you but do make sure that you stay safe and take care of yourself FS.

Published by Silent Rob at 2:31pm on Fri 9th January 2015.

Sorry to hear about this Foolscap. Others have given good advice already, and I agree that although it helps to meet most of the essential criteria for a job, it's possible that someone with all the essential criteria doesn't even exist in reality - so don't let not meeting some of it put you off applying for jobs, if it's a job you really want and believe you can pick up in time. For example, one job I advertised a while back had over forty applicants, and none of them met all the essential criteria (!). The seven or eight shortlisted for interview were mostly the ones who met the most amount of essential criteria, but there were also a couple that we decided to interview because they had some interesting/intriguing stuff on their CV that tied in with the organisation's key values. Also, I'm afraid businesses don't actually have to legally advertise any job vacancies (it's just that if they do then they have to do it properly).

To boost your chances with the permanent job that's coming up, it might be an idea to ask your boss for a chat - where you explain what you've been working on, how well you're doing/positive stuff, what training you'd like, that you're serious about your career and that you intend to apply for this role that's coming up; and also ask them what their plans are for the department over the next twelve months. I know you may well not feel like doing this, and it's easier said than done - but if you felt up to it then it would make sure you're on your boss's radar. I've worked in recruitment for a few years, if I can be of any help - such as having a look at your CV, or application for the permanent job that's coming up - then feel free to PM me.

Published by MissRegaling at 9:41pm on Sun 11th January 2015.

Hi foolscap,

Are you on LinkedIn?

Also, are you a developer? Know about web development / drupal? I know people in Cambridge looking for
a developer right now.

also check this out:

Published by tyres at 12:55pm on Wed 14th January 2015.

I'm not on Linked In. I kept getting spammed by people I knew, and it's also quite awkward if you need to avoid people (which is also why you won't find me on Facebook)... but I'm not a developer. I knew enough code to write a website without software in the pre web 2.0 and got a couple of interviews some years ago but without asp or php etc

I think more than 7.3 people have responded :) To anyone else who might have viewed, but lurked and have the sql skills here is that job for anyone else that wants to apply:

Published by foolscap (not active) at 2:20pm on Wed 14th January 2015.

I'm sweating over the Supporting Statement (talk about 11th hour).

On Friday I was talked into applying for it by several colleagues including the current holder of this post who leaves next week for another job somewhere else, so have taken some notes home to try tackling the person specification, section by section, having completed all the other parts of the form.

Published by foolscap (not active) at 10:38pm on Sun 18th January 2015.

It is very important that you tailor your supporting statement for the specific job you are applying for. The supporting statement is your opportunity to tell the company that you are the best person for the job – you have the experience and skills to meet their needs and move the organisation forward.

the link you sent for the job above says:

You should be able to demonstrate that you have experience of developing/supporting applications using Oracle databases and have a knowledge of SQL.

An understanding of project management concepts is also required,

together with a good knowledge of Help Desk systems and Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

so in your statement tackle the above 3 , if you don't have specific experience, say what skills you have to
be able tackle the above tasks...

a bit of googling should help, find other job adverts with similar job titles and see what skills they ask for, then if you have these skills, put them in your supporting statement, with examples of how you have used them.
Also in your previous role, if you have any examples of how you were responsible for solving problems, resolving help desk issues, mention these.

If you were also responsible for implementing any procedures for improving efficiency, tackling problems, mention these.

If you don't have the specific skill they ask for, mention how you would go about acquiring the answers you need to complete your task, here is good to mention being a quick learner, using your own initiative , yada yada..
How your previous experiences can be used in the new context

finally, mention how you got on with people in your previous team, did other team members call on you when there was a problem to resolve? Are you likeable, approachable :)

The current holder of the post should be able to tell you what the biggest problems / challenges they had doing the job, and what skills they think you'll need to get the job done.

good luck

Published by tyres at 10:14am on Mon 19th January 2015.
This reply has been edited, last edit at 10:38am on Mon 19th January 2015.

It's just frustrating when colleagues acknowledge and are generally more supportive of your abilities than managers, that seems odd to me.

Published by foolscap (not active) at 12:31pm on Mon 19th January 2015.

so emm forgot to mention I got an interview... it's in a couple of hours

Published by foolscap (not active) at 11:25am on Thu 19th February 2015.

How'd it go foolscap?

I applied for a job this week, it's not more money or something that "would do" in place of what I've got it's a role I'm really interested in and as a result my role suitability bit was so much easier to write. I'm not sure I have a chance as, although they would never say it, it's a role more typically filled by men...we'll just have to see.

Published by Cmouse at 8:17am on Fri 20th February 2015.

What's the job? Sperm donor?

Published by Priority 23 at 12:39pm on Fri 20th February 2015.

there are a lot of jobs that are gender specific. the other day I was surprised to see a female Tesco food delivery driver as everyone I'd seen before was male, and I see a lot of these vans near where I live. I haven't yet seen a male receptionist at a dentists or doctors surgery

I was offered the post. The interview hadn't even begun and I was stuck with a problem: I'd left the bag with my shoes and tights at home. I found some boots in a locker when I was getting changed and *borrowed* them, a bit big but better than going into the interview in running shoes or just socks. Most of the questions went well, there were only about 3 out of the 20 or so that I struggled or rambled

Published by foolscap (not active) at 1:49pm on Fri 20th February 2015.

The last interview I had I wore my suit (which I hate doing because I feel like a fraud). Ten minutes after the interview I changed out of my suit into the normal jeans and type of shirt that I typically wear to work. I then walked through the department that had just interviewed me in full view of the people who had been on the interview panel.

The job before that I decided to go to the interview dressed as Doctor Who, ie scruffy suit and trainers.

I was offered both jobs. :)

Published by Silent Rob at 1:58pm on Fri 20th February 2015.
This reply has been edited, last edit at 1:59pm on Fri 20th February 2015.

I'm delighted that you got the job foolscap. Well done!

Published by Silent Rob at 1:59pm on Fri 20th February 2015.

Excellent news foolscap, glad it turned out OK.

I've turned up in leathers before, still carrying a crash helmet, got two jobs like that thinking about it. Maybe I just need a bike again :-)

Published by Cmouse at 2:32pm on Fri 20th February 2015.

Didn't make it for an interview! I must be doing something wrong I really did fit that one well I thought. Oh well I have asked where I went wrong on the offchance I get a useful answer. Bit of a crap end to a generally shitty day at the office!

Published by Cmouse at 5:00pm on Mon 23rd February 2015.

That is a bummer. I got a start date in 4 weeks and some SQL training, the following week so will have to get my shit together as I think I was just lucky there weren't more qualified people around, Cambridge being what it is, or maybe it's that the Council no longer pays enough and those with more are getting paid more in the private sector. No immediate plans to find out.

Published by foolscap (not active) at 10:24pm on Mon 23rd February 2015.

you can start your sql training here:

also check out youtube...

Published by tyres at 3:08pm on Tue 24th February 2015.

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