3 Things Elections Can Teach Jobseekers
You don’t have to worry; this isn’t a political statement! No matter your political persuasion, there are some things jobseekers can learn from the election process. Let’s take a look.
The Importance of Interview Practice
From the primaries to the final months of an election, political candidates conduct mock debates to prepare for televised debates. They ask staff members and consultants to provoke them into mistakes and miscommunication; they prepare for nearly every “what if?” scenario. They spend countless hours researching data on their target audience and potential questions. In many ways, the debate preparation process mirrors the steps jobseekers should take when practicing for interviews.
In 1960, the US held its first televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Most people who listened to the debate over the radio thought that Nixon prevailed. However, most Americans who watched the debate on television favored Kennedy. Kennedy displayed a winning smile, confident body language, and an aura of likability. What’s the takeaway here? In interviewing, nonverbal communication can be just as persuasive as the words that come out of your mouth. Make sure that you sit up straight, smile brightly, and display direct eye contact during each interview.
Overall, practice makes perfect, whether you’re a presidential candidate or a jobseeker.
Why Reputation Management Matters
In almost every election, it seems like some detail from a candidate’s past makes its way into the public eye. It might be old emails, interviews, or a voting record that seems to catch a political candidate by surprise. Much like a politician (or political hopeful), a jobseeker’s past is open to scrutiny. In fact, most recruiters conduct online searches of job candidates before they ever offer an interview. Google yourself to ensure that your digital reputation doesn’t detract from your career goals. Make sure that inflammatory posts or risqué photos aren’t part of your digital footprint. It’s important to understand that no detail about you is off limits or too old to come back to haunt you.
How to Communicate What You Have to Offer
On the campaign trail, every politician tells potential voters that they’ll enhance the economy, increase jobs, boost security, and improve the country for our children’s future. But how often do they tell you HOW they’ll achieve those goals? As a jobseeker, you face the same question. You can’t just tell a prospective employer that you’ll improve their bottom line or elevate customer satisfaction. You must detail HOW you’ll meet those expectations.
Resumes and interview strategies are most effective when they focus on detailed plans and results. During an interview, consider describing what specific changes you would make in the first 90 days on the job. In your resume, provide specific, tangible results to back your claims.
Many Americans are considered “one issue” voters, meaning that even though there is a spectrum of important issues, how a candidate leans towards one or two main issues will influence that voter’s decision. Many hiring decisions occur in a similar fashion. You might possess many of the same skills as competing candidates, but what are one or two points that differentiate you? Why should a prospective employer “vote for” (hire) you? If you can’t answer that question clearly and succinctly, you better reconsider your position!
So, as you watch political elections unfold, remember that there are some things you can learn and apply to your job search. Prepare for interviews. Monitor your digital reputation. Make your case with clear details. Good luck!