Everybody knows how to get hired. They just forget when it’s themselves interviewing.

Everybody knows how to get hired.

Everybody knows, but no one speaks of the reality of hiring:


Leonard Cohen performed a song “Everybody Knows” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEQldSi-heE A “dark” song, with multiple references to social issues including work.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

It is hard to find something more relative to getting a job. Or, for that matter, find something more depressing than job hunting.

Round 1

What everybody knows is that the person who is hiring has to filter usually hundreds of resumes down to something manageable. Even loaded dice sometimes don’t roll as expected. The hiring process is usually done poorly, but the goal is to do it expeditiously. First round is to reject and eliminate:

  • Technical errors – if you can’t write a decent resume, expect yours to go into the trash
  • Non-compliance – if you can’t follow instructions, expect yours to go into the trash
  • Wrong skill set – if you don’t know the job or are familiar with the skills, expect yours to go into the trash
  • Wrong company applied – if you are applying to company A and you address it to company Z, expect yours to go into the trash
  • Wrong key words – some hiring agents use software to scan resumes for key words. You may or may not know what those are, though they may be in the job posting. If you don’t have those words, expect yours to go into the trash

Everybody knows but they still send in garbage resumes to jobs they aren’t qualified for or would like.

Round 2

For those who survive the loaded dice have a second round, this is where someone may actually review their resume. Everybody knows the resume does two things 1) show you have the technical competency 2) to reach out and show you have the secondary capabilities of communications.

This is where the employer’s mindset begins to shift from rejection to acceptance. In some cases it includes an optional phone interview. Reading resumes is to pull out of the stack those best qualified. There is nothing any candidate can do in this phase except cross their fingers and hope they had put together a truly superior resume.

Some employers may go through this process two times.

At the end the employer has a manageable stack of resumes.

Round 3

Employers will have a short list of 5 to 30 candidates to pick the best ones. At this juncture often a phone interview may be scheduled. For some the war may be nearing an end, while for others it is over.

The phone call interview is to get a feel of the candidate. It is easy for the candidate to fail here. The employer is seriously prepared. They have all the information and you have only half if you are fortunate. They know why you were filtered for an interview. They know the job description and dynamics and corporate culture of the job. You may only have your resume, and if you are fortunate to find it, a cover letter. Just a note: EmployThis.com will help you keep your specific application information quickly accessible improving your chances of success. you can find it at www.employthis.com

What everybody knows and easy to ignore, is the interview is to use experience questions to validate your background, but what they really want to know is who you are and how you come across. In other words, it is: what is your personality like. Are you nervous, desperate, confident, knowledgeable, casual or something else.

It is a preliminary interview of compatibility. The assumption is you have the skill, the question is: are you compatible? It may be, are you passionate or a laborer, but it is always ‘can you work with us?’

Round 4

The selection process rarely gets the most qualified or the best suited for the job. The reason is simple; we are all flawed. Some may be a horrid choice and become a poor employee, undependable or really unqualified, but they may have a charming personality, be handsome or beautiful. They may be able to write the perfect cover letter or interview exceptionally well, but these skills may not be related to the task. The person best qualified may easily be rejected for some minor technicality, most often not knowing why. Here it is true – the war is over and the good guys lost.

Round 5

In the interview the fight is fixed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bet on the winner. Here is what everybody knows but no one tells. It is a secret that everybody knows.

People hire people who are most like themselves. In the interview, the interviewer wants to see a reflection of themselves. How much more fixed can the fight be?

Employers want to know that you share their values, that you will be part of their team. You need to believe in the employer’s holy grail, whatever that is.

Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose

Everybody knows

So how do you give the interviewer a box of chocolates and a long stem rose? Amazingly easy, you must ask questions.

Lets say you are asked about your previous job tasks or performance. You can say at a very high level: “well we did some of this and some of that. What areas of that job are of interest to you?”

You should answer the question and get information. You can say, “We used some of these machines or software, which do you use?” then focus on those answers to frame your complete answer.

Often the interviewer is ill equipped to handle inquires and will enjoy telling you about their experience or background. Suppose you have used the Widget 3000, you should feel comfortable saying “we used the Widget 3000, what to you use’ then you might follow up with ‘why’ or perhaps ‘how did you find it to work with.’ In other words make it a conversation – not an interview.

If asked “Do you have any questions?” you should be ready with “How long have you worked here? What is it that you like best about working here? Why did you join?” It is an opportunity to be integrating into the company. It makes you like them in all definitions of like.

The employer is seeking someone to reflect themselves. They want to ‘feel good’ not just buy a product or hire a candidate; they want to feel good about their choice. They want someone they can work with.

Never consider it as you against anyone else; because it is you gaining the confidence and trust of the interviewer.

Get them to talk then show real interest in what they say, agree and you will win!

That’s what everybody knows and no one says. They are interviewing you to see if they like you, and share their values.

Need help? Want to practice your interview skills? Join the EmployThis forum and find a buddy to practice with. It is all confidential and as anonymous as you like. www.employthis/sanctuary/

Try it out, it is free.

Have you experienced this as a candidate or as an employer?

What questions should a candidate ask?

What are the best ways to reflect the interviewer?

Paul Swengler CEOEverybody knows how to get hired. They just forget when it’s themselves interviewing.