Mar 19th 2021
Answers to the 7 most common job search questions
Looking for work sucks. It’s time-consuming and you often don’t hear back from the many applications that you send out, turning to Google for answers to your job search questions.
But at Tempo, we believe that work should be an adventure and that you are more than your CV. We want to give you the tools for success so that you can show employers who you really are and land your dream job.
And while we can’t answer all of your questions in one blog post, we can however offer insight and advice into the most common job search questions. After talking to a bunch of hiring managers and recruiters to get the inside scoop, we have some detailed top tips below to guide you through the process.
Top tips for your job search questions
What do I do if I have no work experience?
Chris Davies, Founder of Graduate Coach, says, “employers want graduates who can demonstrate they have acquired the key employability skills they are looking for.”
There are many ways you can get a job with no work experience. For starters, you don’t need to have paid work experience to show that you are “work ready.” Time spent as a treasurer at your university or volunteer work are both great ways to show employers what you can bring to the table.
There are also other routes into work, such as via temp work or an entry-level job at a startup, that can get your foot in the door. They give you the opportunity to learn and prove yourself on the job, showing employers that you are more than your CV. You can find opportunities such as these on our Tempo platform. Hit the button below to check out all the exciting roles we have available.
Is it a bad thing to have gaps on my CV?
This is one of the job search questions that pops up the most. It’s a common belief that if you have a gap on your CV then you will be automatically tossed onto the “no” pile. But in actual fact, the best approach is to be as open and honest as you can be.
Employers appreciate and can spot people that are authentic. If you have a gap on your CV, whether it’s because you were in between work, made redundant, or had just been travelling, then tell them that. It makes you more authentic and allows you to be open about what you learnt.
Jerry Chen, Head of People at Flux, says, “don’t be afraid to be honest about why those gaps exist. Being able to share those reasons is actually a point of strength as it’s a reflection on how you can address difficult situations or problems in an adult way.”
What qualities stand out for employers?
Employers want to see qualities that reflect their mission and values. Different companies will be hiring for different qualities. Do your research and find out how you align with these. By drawing on their mission statement, you will show a passion for the company culture, which creates a human connection with the employer.
Maggie Lay, People Manager at WeGift, explains that “companies often create questions that draw from their values. For example, our value of ‘adapt and overcome’ means we are looking for candidates that are able to handle the fast-moving pace of a startup like ourselves.”
Qualities such as soft skills are also highly regarded by employers. You should especially draw on these if you are a graduate or early on in your career. Chloe Samarasinghe, Talent Executive at Moneybox, highlights how you should shout about the experience gained working in retail or hospitality.
“Balancing your studies whilst being committed to a job shows transferable soft skills, such as effective time-management, which every employer wants to see.”
I never hear back from my applications. Where am I going wrong?
Take a step back and ask yourself, “Is it too long?”, “Have I made any silly mistakes?”, “Have I missed a question out?” Chloe highlights how “recruiters have to sift through hundreds of applications, so if you keep getting rejected, then go back through as silly errors will cost you the job.” Be sure to have a clear structure, detailing your experiences in reverse chronological order and what each company does.
When it comes to how to write a cover letter, don’t make the mistake of thinking employers don’t read them, because they do. Daniel Illes, Head of People at Vinted, says that your cover letter should be no more than three, really punchy paragraphs, showcasing your skills and experience.
“Think outside the box to make your application quirky, interesting, and reflect your personality.”
Jerry Chen highlights how important it is to take the time to understand your story and tailor your application. Show what you have done that is relevant and what you have done that is different, highlighting the relevant skills you have learnt.
“You will be ten steps ahead if you find the real sweet spot where your experience and the job description intersects in your application.”
Does networking help and what’s the best way to go about it?
Networking is a powerful tool in today’s working world. Don’t just sit around and hope a job lands in your lap. Richard Hutchinson, Recruitment Delivery Lead at Cityfibre, says, “get involved in Linkedin by engaging in conversations, sharing posts, and building your network in the industry you want to go into. This way you can build the right network and shine in the right way.” Reach out to the relevant people at a company either for advice or to show interest in a role, it will show you are willing to go that extra mile.
Hakon Junge, CCO of Capdesk, says, “it’s about connect, respect and request. You’ve got to put in that daily grind to get a job, remaining present and focused.”
How do I make a career change into something new?
To make a successful career change, you need to look to rebrand yourself and make an extra effort to understand the industry you want to go into. This is where networking is especially important so that you can ask for advice on what you need to do to get where you want to be. This is where platforms such as Linkedin come in handy as you can use your connections to help refer you to a company. When you have a gap in specific skills, having a strong personal reference from someone in the right industry is a great way to make up for this in the recruiting process.
You should also look to lean into different experiences outside of your day job if you are looking to get into something new. Think to yourself, “what experience can I get to meet the right people to showcase my skills not just through my CV?”
Find yourself with a skills gap? Look into upskilling. Chloe shared a story where a candidate applied to a Customer Support role at Moneybox and upskilled himself in the intercom service they use to stand out from the crowd. Spot the gap, figure out the relevant skills you need, and then take the necessary steps to learn them.
What questions should I ask in my interview?
The interview is when the employer gets to have a conversation with the person behind the piece of paper. It is your time to really shine and show employers you are more than your CV – and you can do this by asking the right questions.
There is no limit to the questions you can ask in an interview, but you should make sure that they demonstrate that you have thought about the role at hand, as well as the company itself. Look to cover the below topics:
- The role itself e.g. How can I work best within my team?
- Your performance e.g. What are the performance expectations over the first 12 months?
- Training and professional development e.g. How do I progress in the role?
- The company as a whole e.g. Where do you see this company in a few years?
- The team itself e.g. Who will I work most closely with?
- The company culture e.g. What’s the company and team culture like?
- Focusing on the interviewer e.g. Why did you come to this company?
- The next steps e.g. What are the next steps in the hiring process?
Have a read of our blog on 27 questions to ask in your interview to find out more.
As we said, the job hunt is never going to be easy, and you will have many more job search questions that pop up along the way. But remember there is a whole world of innovative recruitment tools and professionals that have been through it all just like you, and they would be more than willing to help. So reach out to your network on channels such as Linkedin and ask for any advice you need. Plus, at Tempo we are always here to lend a helping hand, so don’t be afraid to get in touch. In the meantime, check out our ultimate guide to getting a job for some step-by-step advice through the hiring process.