LONDON (6 February 2024) — Job interviews can have all the same anxieties as a first date. You want to make a good first impression, keep the conversation flowing and, most of all, land that second meet-up. There's a lot riding on it and for many of us, the sheer prospect can make us break into a cold sweat. In fact, new research from TopCV revealed that more than half of UK professionals find interviewing to be the scariest part of the job search.

This may be influenced by 'bad first date' experiences, with TopCV survey results highlighting that nearly half of job seekers (48%) have been ghosted by a prospective employer. 

This Valentine's Day, how can you make sure the chemistry is right and land a job you love? Here, Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV, shares her advice on how to determine whether your next job opportunity is a match made in heaven. 

Is it a match? How to tell

Before sending the first message, how can you determine that your prospective employer is someone you could be interested in? To increase your chances of finding the perfect match, it's important to do some initial profiling to see what you have in common. 

Start by making a list of the job requirements and compare them to your own skills and strengths. Ideally, you should match 80 per cent of the role and personal specifications to consider yourself suitable. It's not just about being a good fit on paper; it's important to also reflect on what you want from a company culture. Visiting sites such as Glassdoor and TheJobCrowd, which publish reviews of the business from former and current employees, is a great way to get a feel for a company's personality and corporate values.

Questions to ask your interviewers

Much like a first date, the interview process should be a two-way process. You both need to learn more about one another, so make sure you have some questions up your sleeve. From work-life balance to progression opportunities, here are some to get you started: 

Are we compatible? Find out if the company culture will be a good fit by asking your interviewer to share how they would describe the working environment. You can also ask what type of people are successful in this role, how employee feedback gets incorporated into day-to-day operations, and how staff achievements are recognised. 

How would this relationship grow? This is a great way to scope out how the company might support your career ambitions. This could include asking about opportunities for training and what type of professional development you can expect, through to how the company measures performance. 

Open the 'ex' files. It's good to know the challenges that those before you have faced in the same role. Don't be afraid to ask why the position is open, what happened with the person who previously held the role, or if it's a newly formed position, why did the company decide to create it. By asking this question at the end of an interview, you'll be better prepared when you start.

Do you see a future for us? Toward the end of the interview, ask how you compare to the other candidates who've interviewed for the role, and whether the hiring manager has any hesitations about hiring you. This provides you with an opportunity to correct any misunderstandings and abate any concerns the employer might have while you still have their full attention.

3 red flags to look out for

  1. Constantly rescheduling. Radio silence or long periods between correspondence, followed by a hurried email, is usually a telltale sign of a toxic workplace. 

  2. Failure to post a salary in job listing.The old saying, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is" definitely applies to job adverts, especially when companies mention "earning potential" instead of a concrete salary. This includes listings where the earning potential has a wide range (e.g. £45K–£200K). This is often used as a tactic to entice as many applicants as possible, but is more often an indication that the role is commission-based. 

  3. Indicators of poor work-life balance. Cleverly disguised references to a company's poor work-life balance are rife in job descriptions. Phrases such as 'must be able to handle highly stressful environments,' as well as repeated references to qualities like 'able to change directions quickly,' may be a sign of chaos.

Between 9 October 2023 and 10 October 2023, TopCV surveyed 350 UK career-driven professionals.

About TopCV

TopCV, a Talent Inc. company, is the world's premier CV-writing service, analysing millions of CVs and LinkedIn profiles each year. Job seekers work directly with professional writers and industry experts to redefine their personal brand and stand out from the crowd during the job search process. Follow TopCV on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

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