Many times, during my interview success sessions, I come across job seekers who want to know how to handle the interview or interview strategy for successful hiring in a situation when there has been no job description shared by the prospective employer. The company would not have provided any details in the job description except the title and one or two skill areas. Or it could be that you have been called for an interview through the referral route and no details are provided. I also notice that at times job seekers do not pay any heed to the JD even when one is available (it is not even read by them).
For you to stand head and shoulders above other candidates, it is extremely important to use each and every tool to prepare for the interview and a job description is one of them. You may be having a background within the same domain and would have an idea about what the role involves but every job requirement will have a different pain point and you as a job seeker need to address that. Also, there might be just one aspect where you do not have the required skill and by being aware of it, you can equip yourself to handle it during the interview. Plus when the HR or hiring manager communicates a brief, it reflects seriousness on their part and a system-oriented approach to hiring. That is why having a detailed job description is important.
Approaches for Interview Success:
So when you face a situation when there is no job description available with you, the way to handle it is to use different approaches. Let me offer you 5 options which will help you get the desired requirements of the job :
Approach 1] Connect with HR:
Call the HR department and ask for a detailed JD. In case the HR has it, they will share. If they don’t have one, seek guidance on how you can find it. Even if the JD is not available with them, by reaching out you would have created a positive impression about your interest level reflecting your trait of doing serious homework before any assignment.
Approach 2] LinkedIn Profiles
You may go to the Company page and read up the profiles of employees at the same designation/job title you have applied for and explore if you can get an idea of the kind of job responsibility they are handling.
Approach 3] Referral
You can make use of the LinkedIn Profiles and draw up a list of employees / ex-employees ( who would have left recently) who are/were in the same position that you have applied for. Use your referral route to try and get introduced to them and have a dialogue to understand the role.
Approach 4 ] Online search
Do an online google search with keywords – ‘name of the company’, ‘broad designations/job titles’ and you will come across a job description which might be detailed. The job could have been posted by the company on the website earlier or by a Recruitment agency handling the client. In case the JD is a recent one, pick up a few things to get a better idea about the role.
Assuming you are unable to get information through any of the above options, the most effective approach would be to option 5.
Approach 5] Exhaustive Homework
Just to draw a parallel, the exercise suggested here is similar to a situation when you planning to invite 3 guests for lunch but you are unsure about each one’s individual food preference. So you decide to invite them to a restaurant where the choice offered is a buffet lunch so that depending upon each one’s liking, the food is available. The guests would be happy because each one got what they wanted. So, what you need to do is on the basis of your experience in a similar role and your understanding, make an exhaustive list of all key result areas which are critical to performing the role. Then below each deliverable, write down 2 to 3 live examples from your work experience where either you achieved an outstanding result or you contributed by improving performance in that area. For example, if it is project management then turn around time would be a key requirement of the job. Write down your success story of how you completed the project before schedule or improved the TAT from the past record. Similarly, list down other areas backed by examples. Writing them down is essential because simply remembering them mentally might not get you the required focus while presenting them. Now you are ready with all critical areas which the job requires. Next comes a much more important step. During the interview, you need to share with the interviewer that since the JD was not provided, you tried your best but were unable to lay your hands on a detailed one ( challenge). Hence you have prepared yourself on the basis of your understanding which KRA’s would be involved ( solution). Then politely ask the interviewer which KRA’s are critical for the job (since this would be the initial part of the interview, you have to gently probe since the general mindset is that only the interviewer asks questions). The response will guide you what to pick and choose from the list you had drawn and respond effectively by presenting matching areas of the role. This would find a connect with the interviewer. Such homework, in any case, requires to be done as part of preparation but in this kind of a situation, your list needs to be a bit more exhaustive because you are not sure of which key area will need to be focused upon during the interview. Such detailed kind of a groundwork and presentation would certainly enthuse the interviewer because it reflects a great amount of interest level from your side.
So with the challenge being handled, you are ready to face the interview confidently even when you do not have access to a JD. Go ahead and be a winner !!
I would be happy to answer any questions. Please do mention them in your comments.