In many job interviews, we tend to encounter new and rather unfriendly faces. This of course heightens an already existing sense of stiff competition. In most cases, interviewees are clueless about what's in store for them. In fact, many simply put on nice clothes and compile their CVs without prior preparation regarding certain aspects of a job interview. However, things can be different if your friend is interested in the same job as you. Chances are, both of you consulted each other days before the supposed interview. You had to share ideas, examine each other and discuss various factors that pertain to the job interview. Which begs the question, how does one give a friend career advice when they're going for the same job as them?
#1 Share, Discuss and Test each other's Interviewing Tips and Tricks
In as much as we might do everything regarding interviews by the book, experience has taught us that this doesn't always work. For instance, you might observe all the decorum and personal etiquette that pertains to a standard interview but still fail on the required personality. Other times, you might actually decide to fake the required personality but your body language unfortunately betrays you. A good way to sharpen each other's interviewing skills is to hold a mock interview so to speak. In this interview, both of you will examine each other’s confidence, decorum, etiquette and persona, just to name a few. The flaws you find in each other will be the perfect opportunity for both of you to share and discuss on ways to improve on certain aspects of an interview.
#2 Counter-check your Resumes to meet Required Job Interview Standards
The mistake that most interviewees make is to send the same resume to different companies. However, it's a well known fact that every company has its own unique set of resume rules and regulations that pertain to a certain job. Not adhering to these rules exposes you to the risk of missing on crucial information needed to assess interested candidates prior to an interview. In addition, providing more than the required information might mistakenly create the impression that you're overqualified in a certain aspect. It's therefore important to examine and correct each other's resumes to save each other from the pitfalls of irrelevant resumes.
#3 Brainstorm on Company History, Facts and Figures
This is the most underestimated aspect of an interview in my opinion. In fact, I've witnessed many potential candidates fail terribly in this aspect of an interview. The assumption that mainstream media is a sufficient source of company information can prove to be embarrassing and disastrous. Plus to be honest, a good interviewee knows company facts and figures like the back of his hand since it generates that sense of belonging with the company interviewing committee. It's therefore necessary to brainstorm with you friend on facts, figures and historical milestones regarding the company. Libraries, newspaper archives and online platforms have always proven to be great sources of such information.
#4 Discuss Past Mistakes and Lessons Learnt
Besides interview and resume failures, there are numerous mistakes that one can make even after being short-listed for the next stage after the interview. For some, there are team-building tests and games given to assess one's level of cooperation, leadership and conflict resolution capabilities. For others, it's gruelling stress tests to assess their endurance and tolerance for certain hardships in the workplace. Many of us have failed in numerous 'stage 2' tests and these failures are the crucial experiences we can share with our friend to pinpoint mistakes made and discuss on lessons learn't so as to avoid them in the forthcoming interview.
#5 Discuss and Brainstorm on Market Trends
I once saw an ad on TV regarding a monthly issue of an East African business report called the Business Daily. The interviewee was well dressed, had proper etiquette and did everything by the book, except for one thing. When he was asked a question about the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) trends, he gave some gibberish about stocks in a warehouse and consequently embarrassed himself. This goes to show the essence of staying informed regarding trends that pertain to the job you're interested in. From media to medicine, law, insurance, engineering, technology and worthy causes, every profession has its current trends.
#6 Share and Discuss Career Goals
In most interviews, the question that can't be avoided is 'Why do you need this job?' This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff since most interviewees will focus on their personal problems when answering this question and ultimately sound clueless. The few that brainstormed on their career goals will focus on the milestones they aim to achieve and the opportunities they would wish to exploit along the way. It would thus be an added advantage for both of you to discuss and examine each other's career goals in order to fine-tune them to the requirements of the supposed job vacancy.
#7 Discuss Future Plans if you fail to Clinch the Job
Reality is the bottom line that decides the winner between optimism and pessimism. Everyone goes to a job interview with the hope that they'll clinch the vacancy. However, optimism can't guarantee us a win all the time and that's where reality comes in. You'll need a back-up plan if things go south. Discussing 'Plan B' with your friend will be a key motivational gesture to keep you going even if you end up feeling discouraged after the interview. It also mentally, emotionally and psychologically prepares you for the heavy blow of disappointment and gives you the much needed 'shock absorbers' to guard yourself from any unnecessary hurt.
#8 Share Contacts of Each other's Connections and Acquaintances
After the interview, there's a high chance that both of you will go for varying job interviews before intercepting each other again. You'll thus need to keep tabs on each other when you're far away. Plus, you'll need to know new people who can connect you lucrative jobs. That's why both of you should also exchange contacts of career coaches, mentors and key industry players. This would be beneficial for you especially if you've completely exhausted on your current career contacts and would like to inject a fresh vibe into your future career prospects. As the saying goes, 'Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results'.
We've all had those friends who become jealous of us especially if we're competing for the same job as them. In fact, the jealousy was heightened when you clinched the job and your friend was left out. However, common courtesy demands that we become happy for those whom we care about especially when good things happen to them because in the end, you'll also need the same support when you're at the top. Ultimately, it's wise not to forget those who stuck with you on your journey to the top, because you'll need them when your career dusk arrives.