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A word about job descriptions and interview prep

You’ve done your homework on the company. You’ve gone through the job description with the precision of a NY Times editor. You’ve practiced correlating your experiences and strengths to the job description. (More on that HERE) Your interview outfit is laid out and the interview address is already entered into WAZE. You’re even reading every interview prep and tips article you can find. You’re officially ready to interview!  BUT, are you ready to pivot should the posted job description and the reality of the job differ?

Most job descriptions are 80% accurate. Job descriptions tend to get handed down, like grandma’s recipes. A few pinches of something are left out and Aunt Loretta added her own spices and just like that, it’s not the quite the same pie anymore.

It happens innocently enough- “Hey, HR, do you have the job description from when we hired Alice? No? How about Lauren? Not that Lauren, the one before that one….Yeah, perfect. That’s pretty much the job. Can you post that ASAP? Alice just gave her notice we need to get that job filled.”

That job description may be 10 years old! Some smaller companies may not even have formal job descriptions, so you’re getting something “off the cuff” of whomever was tasked with posting the job. Even with larger firms, HR can be left to piece together a job description with little input from the actual department manager or the person currently in the role.  All of these things can lead to a disconnect between the published description and the actual need. And while you’re prepared to apply your skill set and experience to every detail on that job description, you’ll want to be prepared to shift the conversation if some of it proves to be irrelevant.

The best way to get clarification on this is to pose this question, at some point early in the interview. “I appreciate being asked in for this interview. I’ve reviewed the job description but really look forward to getting your take on the role and what’s most needed to be effective in it. Can you tell me about the job from your perspective?”

Other questions that can get to the heart of the job are:

“What made the previous holder of this job successful in the role?”

“Was there a particular skill or experience on my resume that most caught your attention and why?”

“If you had to pick a single most important component of the job, what would that be?”

So be prepared with your answers, but also be prepared to listen to the interviewer and shift focus as needed. Good luck!

Working with one of our experienced recruiters at MOLARI Employment and HealthCare Services can help prep both you for your job interview. Contact a MOLARI recruiter today!

If you would like to learn more about MOLARI Employment and HealthCare Services, please contact us today and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.

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