Photo of Sylvia Nicolas CV, job search and interview coach

I put myself up as a job candidate and here’s how it went…

I was contacted recently by a recruiter from a well-known agency asking if I’d be interested in a temporary 4 month position as Recruiting Manager. They urgently needed someone for an international company based in Madrid for maternity cover.

Although I don’t do very much contract work these days, I decided to go for it as I like to stay involved with the industry.

Obviously the recruiter wanted my CV but I didn’t have one ready. So last Monday it took me 4 hours to create a new, up-to-date one.

Always be prepared to re-write your CV. This extra effort can make the difference between being ignored and being noticed.

I thought writing a brand new CV was the perfect opportunity to apply all the tools and techniques I teach to my clients. And if I could get to the interview stage, I’d experience the whole process that my clients go through.

Practicing what I preach

The first thing I did was to check the job specification carefully. I highlighted the key points the hiring company was looking for. 

Once my standard CV was written, I made sure these key points were included in my profile summary, key skills and achievements sections.

The hiring company was looking for a candidate with a proven experience in recruitment & selection, someone who had implemented and created new recruitment strategies solutions and recruitment marketing to attract talent… and could speak fluent English.

After 4 hours I was happy with my brand new CV and sent it over (it was after midnight!). The next day a 10.23 am, I received a call from the agency who was interested in my profile. We talked about my background and at the end he said that he would forward my CV to the hiring company.

The interview

A week later, the agency contacted me again, to advise me that the hiring company was interested and would be willing to interview me in 2 days time. Therefore, I had to prepare for the interview the way I prepare my clients.

Here’s what I did:

  • I drafted the interview questions based on the key requirements of the role
  • I prepared my elevator pitch, which had all the ingredients related to recruitment strategies for this role
  • I practiced my interview for 2 days. I was talking loudly to myself like the interview panel was in front of me and rehearsed until I was 100% sure that I was ready.

I went for the interview really confident, because I was well prepared and I knew my stuff. 

Interviews are normally a nerve-wracking experience.

But I felt relaxed.

I thought, “I’m just going to have a chat with a stranger about my background. They will evaluate me and I will evaluate them as well”. 

Interviews are a practice

It’s good to remember that job interviews are an experience to learn from. I was happy to keep my interview skills updated by going for this temporary position, whether I was successful or not.

And I was really glad I could practice what I preach.

Connect with the interviewer

I met with the interviewer of the hiring company, we had a 45 minute meeting. During the interview, which felt more like a chat, we found some things in common. She used to work in my home town and could speak French so we started chatting in French.

Having these things in common made us connect even more. It did not feel like an interview but a nice chat with a relative.

The outcome

Unfortunately, the position they interviewed me for was made a permanent one (and not temporary as advertised), so I couldn’t take it.

But the hiring manager liked my all rounded HR generalist background and she was interested in knowing more about that, not just the recruitment aspect. So, not only have I had some CV and interview practice, I’ve made another good contact within the industry.

I’m glad I went for that role. The experience helped me reevaluate what I do as a coach. I also realised how effective the tools and techniques that I use with my clients are.

I sometimes get frustrated when people tell me that they still can’t find the right job. But I know they can if they apply the right methods, develop some confidence and remain patient. 

So if you’re ready to find your next job, give me shout.

Sylvia Nicolas

Sylvia Nicolas

Sylvia is a global career consultant and coach who helps people find the right job with CV writing, interview training and job search strategies. Find out more and book a free consultation.

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