CAC is always reading work-related and job search oriented content to make sure we keep fresh perspectives in our mix. We recently came across an article from CNBC we thought may be helpful for our community looking for work. In the article, millionaire Steve Adcock said 90% of your early success comes down to your ability to nail job interviews. There are many reasons why a cancer patient/survivor might be looking for a new job during or after cancer treatment. While working in technology before his retirement at age 35, Adcock interviewed more than 100 candidates and was surprised at how many weren't able to make it to the second round.
Whether you are re-entering the workforce or looking to change careers post-cancer treatment, the interview is an essential piece of job search process, and you’ll want to be the savviest candidate you can be. There are many approaches to interviewing and not one single right way to go, so you’ll have to do what feels personal right to you. Here are the key tips Adcock shares for what he thinks would make a successful interview:
- Always dress professionally. Do not worry about being overdressed. If you dress too casually, it shows poor judgement and a lack of consideration, while on the flip side, no one will think less of you if you overdress.
- Come prepared with a notebook and pen to look ready and organized. To help with symptoms like “chemobrain” or “brain-fog”, Cancer and Careers recommends having one centralized notebook where you write down everything. This way, you only have to remember one item.
- When asked about your “biggest weakness”, Adcock recommends being honest about what your biggest weakness really is and what you’ve done so far to improve. However, at Cancer and Careers, our staff and professional career coaches recommend a similar but slightly different approach. We recommend picking a true weakness and what you’ve done so far to improve, but not picking something critical to the job you are applying for. For example, if public speaking is a big part of your new role, such as a teacher or a sales rep, you may not want that to be the main focus of your weakness answer. On the other hand, if you are applying for a role that doesn’t involve a ton of public speaking like, a data analyst, you may say, "I tend to feel a little nervous about public speaking, so I am seeking more opportunities to practice giving presentations to our audience." The interviewer wants to measure your self-awareness and your problem-solving skills.
- Emphasize your ability to problem solve. It is ok to talk about mistakes – just focus on how you learned from it, recovered and what you would do going forward.
- Always prepare two or more questions. Adcock suggestions that these questions should show you have a growth mindset and will be immediately valuable to the team. His examples include "What's one challenge you regularly face in our job?", "What are the most pressing projects that need attention?", "Will there be opportunities for stretch assignments where I can learn and use new skills?" and "Does the company offer training programs to employees". It's okay to have these written down even if the interview is in person.
- Use personal examples when answering. Share a story that is engaging and makes the interview more interesting. This will help you be more memorable and stand out amongst the rest.
These are just a few interview tips and techniques. If you are looking for more tips on how to ace the interview, such as using The Swivel to answer difficult questions, click here.
In addition, you may be interested in downloading or ordering our Job Search Toolkit for advice and support on all aspects of the job search from resume writing, to networking, to interviews and more.