Be Confident, Assertive in Interview Process

Marat Gaziev

Marat Gaziev provides valuable insights into what turned a frustrating job search into a successful one in today’s New York Times Preoccupations column

Marat, 24, began his job search while gainfully employed and living in San Diego, but expanded it in order to be considered for more opportunities.  But, importantly, he recognized he needed a new approach to the interview process. 

“Looking back, I see what I did wrong,” Marat said.  “I had an outdated way of thinking about the interview process.  I didn’t provide any detail, I didn’t talk about how I saw the industry, and I didn’t offer any tips on how they could improve their online presence.  I was doing the bare minimum instead of trying to sell myself.  I guess I thought that I had the qualifications and that the interviewers would see them for what they were.  But being passive doesn’t cut it.  My capabilities just weren’t coming across.”

Marat began his search while employed at a SEO firm, which was a plus since most job seekers today are not not employed or about to be so.  “I was becoming upset that I wasn’t getting anywhere in my job search, and realized I should change my strategy.” 

Marat eventually decided to broaden his search beyond San Diego where he was living and working.  “I researched each company I applied to — and reorganized my résumé to better focus on the job at hand. I also planned to offer several ideas outlining what I’d do if I were hired.  You have to be careful when you do this, however, so you don’t sound like a know-it-all.  Suggesting that the company change its name, for example, is nervy.  You also can’t say you’re going to make $3 million for the company in a year.  You have to find small things that you might improve on a scalable level.”

Marat underscores that job seekers must appear confident and assertive (but not overly so).  “You can’t afford to be tentative when there’s so much competition for jobs.”

Marat Gaziev is now a search engine optimization analyst at TMP Worldwide in Chicago.

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