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Wondering if You’re Qualified for That Job Opening? You Probably Are!

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Recently, Allegis Group surveyed nearly 7,000 employers and job seekers about their experiences with recruiting. Among the findings: 50 percent of surveyed talent acquisition professionals and 53 percent of candidates are under the impression that the hiring company is always looking for ready-made candidates, fully equipped with the necessary skills and experience for a role.

Here’s the twist: among hiring managers — those who are likely to make the final hiring decisions — only 28 percent expect a ready-made candidate. So if you’re seeking a new career opportunity, there are several lessons here. First, don’t shy away from the opportunity if you believe your skills apply to that role. It may look like a reach as described in the job description, but if you have the experience to recognize what’s needed to accomplish the primary goals of the job, you likely have the knowledge to be a viable candidate.

Lesson two: show your knowledge, and don’t be afraid to question the interviewer about the role and its requirements. In addition to creating and describing a role, one of the biggest challenges companies face at the onset of the recruiting process is to ensure that every stakeholder is informed and in agreement on the basics. In some cases, the job seeker may bring more, and different, knowledge to the table than the employer expected, and that can be a pleasant surprise.

Lesson three: be honest and flexible. Of course we’d all like to be able to walk into the office, wow the employer with our insightful answers, and win the job on the spot. In many cases, however, that desire to impress may take over, and you’ll find yourself trying to respond based on what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Instead, don’t be afraid to ask questions based on requirements that are not necessarily in your area of focus or experience. In many cases, those needs may not be the core of the original role, and the employer may give space to let you develop those skills or address the needs in another way.

Finally, think about the outcomes. This piece of advice goes hand-in-hand with honesty and flexibility. It’s easy for a candidate to go into an interview, thinking in stark terms of win or lose (get hired for the posted job or be rejected). In the real world, the choice of potential outcomes is much more complex and varied; and for job seekers, that’s a good thing.

Consider what happens if you don’t match all the requirements, but you convince the interviewer that your strengths are ideally suited to helping the employer address an urgent need. You may find yourself being hired for another, slightly different, role. The company may realize it has to redefine the role for you. You may be asked to take on a contract role that leads to a permanent role (very common today). You may even find yourself taking on a lucrative, contract-based approach to work that you decide embrace in your career (versus the traditional employee relationship).

In all of these cases, questioning the opportunity and believing in your ability to deliver value will lead to a career-advancing outcome. It’s not easy, but keeping an open mind is one of the most powerful things a job seeker can do. Good companies recognize that, and the result can be a boost to your career.

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