Have you been applying for jobs with little success and been left wondering how to get a job interview? Here’s how to get a job interview invitation without responding to job ads!
To receive an invitation for a job interview, most people automatically think they need to respond to a job advertisement. This isn’t always the case.
In fact, applying for an advertised vacancy can sometimes be the least efficient way to gain a job interview.
What if you could get a job interview at an organisation and time of your choosing?
It is possible! The key is to access the hidden job market.
In this post I’m going to share with you how to get a job interview by networking and expressing an interest in a job.
This post is about how to get a job interview (without responding to a job advertisement).
Job interview definition
A job interview is part of a selection process whereby a candidate is assessed by an employer (or their representative) to determine if they have the necessary capabilities and experience to suitably fill a vacant position.
Generally this involves a conversation between the interviewee (the candidate) and the interviewer (the employer or recruiter).
The good news is there are no rules to say a candidate must apply by responding to a job advertisement (unless it’s a directive by the organisation’s hiring policy) 😉
Now let’s explore the alternative approach in more detail.
Step 1 Networking for a new job
The first step in receiving a job interview invitation is to research and make connections with people in your ideal role or industry.
This step is often missed as it can be the most daunting one, however it’s important if you want to avoid the competition.
Don’t be tempted to wait around for your ideal job to be advertised. Be proactive and create the opportunity for yourself.
This is possible by building and maintaining a quality professional network. How to get a job interview.
Finding people (or leads 🙄) to connect with is fairly straightforward:
- Try a LinkedIn search for organisations or people in roles that interest you and send a tailored message to connect (don’t just follow).
- Visit organisations’ websites to see who the key connection points are e.g. the business owner or human resource manager. Connect with them on LinkedIn too.
- Reach out to your existing network members to see if they know anyone in your ideal role or industry. Ask for an introduction and/or connect with them on LinkedIn.
- Connect with a relevant professional association.
- Attend industry events or job fairs and speak to vendors and participants.
- Join relevant community business groups
Important: when you first reach out to someone, don’t immediately ask them for an interview. Ensure you build rapport and establish a mutually beneficial relationship first!
Step 2 Expression of interest for a job
Now is the time to contact members of your network to learn more information about a role, industry or organisation.
Important: only contact people you have introduced yourself to and established a rapport with.
How you go about contacting someone will depend on several factors, such as level of rapport and location. You may be able to catch up for coffee/lunch or a formal meeting (either in person or via video conference), or simply ask for their work email address.
Consider framing this meeting as a request for more information about a role, industry or organisation, but not a job interview. It’s helpful to think of this as a mentoring type of request. The main purpose of this meeting is to conduct an informational interview, as well as an opportunity to further introduce yourself and explain what you can offer an employer.
At the end of the conversation is the time to express an interest in a job with their organisation. Let the person know you’re looking for a new job, ask if there are any opportunities available and if you could send them your resume and cover letter.
If they say no, that’s okay! You’ve spent your time collecting some valuable information and made an important contact which made lead to other opportunities down the track.
Step 3 Develop your job documentation (resume and cover letter)
Now that you have an idea about the organisations and types of jobs you would like to interview for, you can develop and/or tailor your job documentation.
Don’t be tempted to skip this step either! Tailoring your resume and cover letter is super important. It demonstrates your suitability and enthusiasm for the role and is the very thing that sets your application apart from other candidates.
For more tips on developing a resume check out: What you NEED to know about Australian resumes and the best tips for success! and How to explain an employment gap on your resume.
Step 4 Follow up job application
Now is the time to follow up your informational interview with your resume and cover letter.
Send your job documentation to the person you met and wait one week for them to read it. If you haven’t received a response (hopefully in the form of a job interview invitation!), send a short and polite follow-up email. Check to ensure you have the right email address.
If they don’t respond to your first follow-up email, wait another 5 to 7 days and follow up again. If you don’t hear anything after that, you may wish to consider ending your inquiries there.
Important: Be mindful that you are probably corresponding with a very busy person. It’s important to be respectful of their time. They will appreciate your initiative and proactivity but they won’t appreciate being pestered! If they do respond and indicate they are too busy, respect any timeframes they give you.
If all goes to plan, you will receive a job interview invitation at this point 😊 how to get a job interview.
Tip: If you’re reaching out to several people at the same time, it’s a good idea to keep a log to track your progress. I’ve got a FREE Expression of interest tracker to help with that!
Step 5 Preparing for a job interview
Preparing for a job interview is key to success!
Being equipped to answer any interview questions will give you a competitive edge over other candidates, build your confidence and control nerves.
At a minimum, you should review the job role to understand the key capabilities and experience required for success and prepare responses to behavioral questions regarding those capabilities. You should also have an elevator pitch prepared.
I’ve got several resources on job interviews if you’re looking for tips on preparing for a job interview: How to answer the all-important tell me about yourself interview question or Graduate interview questions – the most comprehensive list you’ll find or The top 5 interview questions you need to prepare for | interview questions australia.
Step 6 Send a job interview thank you email
Sending a thank you email (or LinkedIn message) after a job interview is a great way to solidify your relationship with the interviewer and to stay front of mind. Plus, who doesn’t love good, old-fashioned manners? 😉
Tip: Bonus points for sending a handwritten note instead of an email!
As a general guide, your message should:
- Explain the purpose of the email (perhaps reminding the recipient of the day/date you met and the role you were interviewed for)
- Thank the recipient for their time
- Reiterate your interest in the position
- Deliver on any further information or action you promised at the interview
- Confirm your availability for any further discussion or future steps in the recruitment process.
This message should ideally be sent between 1-3 days after the interview.
Knowing how to get a job interview is critical to securing your ideal job, at an ideal organisation, at the ideal time.
While there are no guarantees of success, this 6 step process will broaden your networks, provide you with access to the hidden job market and refine your all-important job search skills.
The key is initiative and proactivity; don’t wait for opportunities to come to you.
If you’ve used this 6 step process to find a job, I would love to hear about your experience.
This post is about how to get a job interview (without responding to a job advertisement)
Hi there, I'm Danielle Ward
Your go-to career development and human resource practitioner, guiding your career towards true north.