Why job interviews are like selling a house

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Oct 26

In any real estate market, the conventional wisdom is “location, location, location.” It’s wrong. The real deal is “price, price, price.” But in this market, it’s not just price. It is also presentation. If your house doesn’t show well, it won’t sell even if your price is right.

In your job search, the conventional wisdom is that all you need is presentation: your job skills, your motivation, and how you fit into the team. Lock those up and the job is yours.

Well, it’s not that simple anymore.

You need the right pricing

Pricing is subject to demand. And with six applicants for every position open, you have people who need a job and price really doesn’t matter. Corporations are aware of that and will drive their cost down for their new hires. Don’t like the salary? Too bad, we have hundreds of more applicants to choose from.

Worse, in the phone interview or the initial recruiter’s interview, you are often asked what salary you are looking for. When we respond, we can find out the salary is OK, or you can simply get a “we will send your application along to the company” and never hear from them again. You never even get your shot at doing your presentation in an interview.

There is a fine balance between not accepting something because you don’t think the salary is right and a marketplace that is pushing against giving higher starting salaries to new hires, even though those with jobs right now are getting pay raises.

Every person needs to have an understanding of their needs in salary and benefits versus what is offered so you can make your choice of taking a job with integrity. And it is different for everyone.

It’s easier to make a choice with integrity when you have one year’s take home pay in the bank.

You need to present well

You can be priced right in the marketplace. That’s the first hurdle. But when the potential buyer of your skills does the interview, will that person find a solid candidate with the right job skills and motivation or someone that looks more like a fixer upper?

If you are priced right, but come across as a fixer upper, you won’t get the job.

In your interview, you need to show how you fit the job description in the most areas possible, show you are motivated by the work, and show that you can fit in with the team. These are the only three answers in interview questions and you need to show well in all three areas to get hired.

In this market, even that may not be enough. By having the skills, motivation and fit with the team, you may only get to the final round. In the end, you will need to figure out a compelling reason, or personal differentiater, that shows why you are a better hire than everyone else.

It’s a tough job market

The housing market is tough and so is the job market. When markets like this are tough, it requires extra thought, critical judgment and extraordinary self-awareness to search for and successfully acquire work.

Are you priced right for this market? Do you present well?