This weekend while watching television with my stepson, we saw a commercial for the new season of American Ninja Warrior. On the show, contestants must successfully battle their way through an intense obstacle course to move on to the next round and eventually win the grand prize. As I watched the advertisement, I thought to myself, “This is how job applicants must feel.”
As an applicant, you must successfully maneuver through the interview process using your skills, training, and determination to make it to the final round. If you’ve fallen short, learning about the hiring process can help you understand what’s keeping you from moving forward and winning the job.
The diagram below is a very basic description of the hiring process. It usually starts when you apply or submit your resume for an open position. If your resume works, the prospective employer will call you for a phone screen. If you jump that hurdle, then they will schedule your first interview. If you scale that wall, then they will likely schedule a second interview. And finally if you beat out your competition, you’ll win the job offer.
If at some point in the process you stop hearing from the employer or are formally rejected, then take a step back and that is probably the obstacle you need to work on. For instance if you are sending out resumes, but your phone isn’t ringing, then you need to tweak your resume. If you have an interview, but don’t get called back for a second, then you need to work on your interviewing skills.
I highly recommend setting up a spreadsheet so you can track when and where you are applying, as well as how far you get in the process. This will not only help you identify where you’re having an issue, but also if the changes you implement are effective.
It’s important to invest in your job search skills. Just like Ninja Warriors train to conquer Mount Midoriyama, you’ll need to do some research, homework and maybe a little role-playing in order to make sure you’re up to the task. When you’re at the finish line with a great job offer in hand, then you’ll know the reward was worth the sweat.