So, you’ve written the resume and prepared your cover letter. Now it’s time to submit your job application. You will not find any love for applications here. They are time consuming, repetitive, and a pain to write out by hand. However, many employers still require them so it’s best to be as informed about them as possible.
My first recommendation, and this should really apply to everything you do in life, is to be honest. If you “forget” to include a criminal conviction or misrepresent yourself in any way, the company will find out. Most now outsource the application and background check portion of the process to outside firms who specialize in these fields. You can choose to omit certain facts but chances are, it will come back to bite you.
With that out of the way, let’s first go over typical questions you can expect to see on a job application. Some examples are:
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
- What are your career goals?
- Are you willing to relocate?
- What are your salary requirements?
- Why did you leave your most recent job?
Of course, I can’t tell you specifically how to answer these questions but I can tell you that, as I said before, honesty is the best policy. Don’t just answer the questions the way you think the employer wants them to be answered because it can set unrealistic expectations and lead to confusion should they select you for a formal interview.
You may be surprised to find out, as I was, that some employers now require you to take tests prior to or after a formal interview. These tests are designed to gauge both your skill set and your personality to determine whether or not you will be a good fit for the company. The first type of test they administer is a technical skills exam. This is meant to help them find whether or not you are capable of performing the duties that are required of the position you are applying for. The example questions are going to be based on the work that you would be doing in the position. If you are working a help desk, they would ask you a series of troubleshooting questions to see if your responses are accurate to what their expectations are.
The second type is a personality exam. There are multiple types of personality exams, and which type is administered varies based on the position you are applying for, but generally speaking the purpose of this exam is to make sure that your personality and your way of thinking is in line with the type of person that the company is wanting to hire. If you are a high-strung go-getter who prefers to stay busy with multiple tasks but the employer is looking to hire someone who is only responsible for seeing one task to completion at a time, you may not be the right fit for that particular job. These tests are both designed to give the employer as much information about you as possible prior to offering you the position.
Regarding these exams, as I said, the requirements are going to be different based on the position. The personality traits and talents sought after in someone applying for a job in the medical field are going to be different than they would be for someone looking in the IT field. It goes without saying that people in IT need to have a broad knowledge base of the products and services they will be working with but they also need to be strong at multi-tasking, be effective communicators, and cooperative team players.
I personally have never applied for a position that required me to complete these exams but I have ample experience filling out job applications, whether that be for my first job as a dish washer or in my current position as a Customer Service Lead for a chemical company. My advice, just as it was for your resume, is to be consistent, and make sure that the information you are including on the application is relevant to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for an IT position, make sure to include any experience you had working with computer systems in previous jobs. Even if the particular platform you worked with at that job isn’t in use at the employer you are applying to, it will let them know that you are familiar with a variety of systems and can learn them quickly. However, reconciling a cash drawer or cleaning the office won’t necessarily be something that needs to be shared.
I hope that you have found this information to be useful as you continue your journey towards landing your job in IT support. I know it can be an intimidating process but if you keep these items in mind, you will have a higher chance of being successful.