CNBC’s The Job Interview – Reality Check
The Job Interview is a reality program airing on Wednesdays at 10p on CNBC where actual companies bring in 5 real candidates for final interviews for a position with their company. Tough questions and bad answers make for entertaining TV, but our goal as a recruiting firm is to guide you through those difficult questions and unexpected situations with real-world advice.
In the last two episodes, Woofie’s (Episode 10) and Watershed Hospitality (Episode 11), we talk about two different scenarios – being underqualified for a job and being overqualified. How do you deal with both situations in a job interview?
Lesson #1 – Being Underqualified
Woofie’s is a mobile pet grooming business looking for a qualified pet groomer for their franchise operation in Virginia. The ideal candidate would have some past experience grooming pets. One candidate with no prior experience made the most of the situation with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and grow with the company.
In fact, many hiring managers do rank candidates higher based on factors such as attitude over prior experience, particularly if they have a good training program. Training a new employee on the company’s process may benefit the employer in the long run.
If you are in the same situation, here are a few tips to focus on:
- Prepare and do your homework on the company – While I realize this applies to all, it could really be a difference maker for you if you take the time to research the training program, the history of the company, the competition, etc. Showing that you did your research and that you are excited about the direction of the company and the position shows the interviewer that you are someone that is looking for a career with the company.
- It’s all about transferable skills – If you don’t have the direct experience they are looking for, you need to find a situation from your past or a specific skill that relates closely and be prepared to use that experience as proof that you would be able to take on this new task.
- Sell your biggest challenges – Was there a time when you walked into a situation with some unknowns, either personally or professionally? How did you rise to the challenge? Be ready to show them that you are confident and determined to take on a new opportunity head on!
Lesson #2 – Being Overqualified
In Episode 11, the President of Watershed Hospitality, a restaurant group in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was seeking an Event Sales and Operations Manager. There was one candidate that was overqualified for the current position, based on his extensive past experience in more senior roles with larger restaurant groups. Clearly the hiring manager had an open mind to begin with in bringing this person in for interview. For the candidate, this is often a delicate tightrope to walk. You certainly don’t want to appear to be a know-it-all, but you do want to capitalize on your extensive knowledge to provide the additional benefits your hire will provide the young company. You want the employers to look at you as a wealth of information not someone who will rock the boat.
In this episode, this candidate did a great job of showing confidence and was steadfast in his answers, even when it did not fully mesh with the hiring managers original thoughts. It showed someone who is not afraid to say what they think and an employer who is willing to be open to new ideas. Sounds like a great match!