Chapter 1

Domain Identification

Interviewing for a job sounds like a challenging thing, doesn’t it? But have you ever wondered whether an interview is the right fit for you? This chapter helps you explore and identify how to choose the right domain suited to your career, grasping your interests, expertise, and motives and linking them to potentially suitable job descriptions.

Disclaimer: If you are an experienced professional, chances are, you have figured out the right domain for your career. If so, feel free to jump to the next chapter or read on to find some interesting ways to find your true passion.

Let’s start at the beginning. Once you’ve graduated and have a degree in your hand, it’s time to start looking for jobs in your field of study.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is jumping to a job profile just because it requires a degree that you may have. Without being excited about the fact that you fit the role because you have the required degree, have you considered other factors such as monetary offerings and the competitive angle associated with this domain?

Step 1: Listing your interests, expertise, and motives

The first thing you should do is prepare a list to identify your domain, role, and motive to work somewhere. Start by dividing the list into the following factions -

• Your interests

How to determine your interests? Career interests include things that you enjoy about your work. Ask yourself, what keeps you happily occupied? For example, if you work in finance, are you interested in knowing about the latest trends in the digital banking space? Are you interested in cryptocurrency?

Interests can be associated with career choices or ancillary to your career, but they will add value to your career. For example, you could be working in law but have an interest in helping the community. So the point to consider is, does the law firm you are applying for have an option to take up pro bono work in your area of interest?

Your expertise

Expertise encompasses your personally acquired knowledge and skills. Whether you are a fresher or someone with considerable work experience, you will have a certain level of expertise. Are you an expert at preparing reports? Or writing? Are you an expert at social media or perhaps have a strong penchant for web development, coding, data analytics, or engineering?

Have you undertaken courses outside of your academic or professional background that has helped you develop sound expertise in a particular space?

For example, you could have some specific skills, including preparing cost reports, conducting audits, or drafting.

You may also have subject-specific knowledge, for example, a certificate/course in fintech, an external specialization in investments, or a degree, such as a CFA degree.

• Your motives

Prior to taking the interview, ask yourself why you’re targeting a specific job and preparing for the interview. What is your motive behind wanting to excel at the interview? Is it getting a great job with monetary benefits? Is it the culture of the organization? Is it the fact that the organization does work that would allow you to feel purposeful? List down all your motives so that you are clearer about approaching the interview.  Whether your motives are money or job satisfaction, there is no wrong answer - only what is right for you.

Being clear about your motives also has another goal - it allows you to push through the interview preparation course. Each time you feel discouraged, it helps you remember why you’re preparing and what you’re doing this for.

Tip - Remember: your interests, expertise, and motives can change and evolve with time. So, each time you approach an interview, remember to update this list.

Step 2: Charting out your domain and scope

Once you have step 1 in place, it’s time to understand where to look for potential interviews that fit you. This involves scouring the job landscape to zero in on possibilities. A few ways to do this are as follows:  

• Browse by company

If you have some specific companies and organizations in mind that you’d like to work for, now is the time to make a list of them. While browsing, also try and look for their competitors or similar companies where you may just find a suitable role.

Let’s understand this better with a specific domain example. If you were looking to apply for a job in the Data Science field, you would start by browsing and listing out companies that employ professionals engaged in this space.  

• Browse by payscale

If you are aware of the payscale for which you want to interview, you can even look for positions that offer you your requested range. This will considerably help to narrow down opportunities.

Taking the same example of a Data Scientist role, you should first understand what the industry pay scale standard is depending on your experience level. Based on the standard, have a number in mind and then use that to look for eligible positions that offer you this range.

Browse by prospects and growth possibility

Another great way to browse opportunities is by taking a look at the future prospects and growth possibilities offered, especially if you’re looking for a long-term association upon being hired.

Start by chalking out the path a Data Scientist would have to journey through - from a junior level to a senior-level position; you need to research to understand where you can reach if employed with a top company of your choice, within 5-7 years. Based on the growth, look for companies that offer you your desired growth possibilities.

Tip - Most websites with career listings have filters that allow you to browse for roles specifically - use these to save time. Alternatively, you can even look for specific roles on LinkedIn.

Step 3: Understanding the job description

Getting the job isn’t enough - while preparing for an interview, you need to truly want to fully commit to the role. To do this in a structured manner, you need to get a complete picture of the job description.

Before sitting for an interview, carefully go through the job description of the profile you want to apply for. Most people often ignore the descriptions and skip to the requirement stage; if they see their requirements fit, they just go ahead and apply for the role. However, we suggest doing your own research on whether the role is fit for you. Ask certain questions like:

  • What are the daily responsibilities you will be expected to carry out?
  • After a point, will the work seem interesting to you, or will it become monotonous?
  • Is the job description similar to job descriptions at other companies that offer a similar role?

Equipping research with these questions will help you arrive at a more clarified stance.

Takeaway - Attaining clarity  

In my years as an interview prep instructor, I have come across several people who are unsure of how to prepare for a particular role. Many people assume that a position or role would require a general understanding and follow the herd - but this is where the problem lies.

Being specific: Remember, organizations are looking to hire people who can add value to them. If you do what 20 other people are doing, how do you stand out from the sea of applicants for the position? Keep this in mind and spend quality time on choosing a specific role that fits you well.

Keeping options open: While you may want to keep your options open and jot down a few different roles based on your domain expertise and interests, keep the pool as narrow as possible. You may start out wanting to list out potential roles from various fields, but that won’t necessarily grant you an open door and will only complicate your process.  

Exercise -

  1. Subscribe to at least 5 newsletters, updates or Twitter accounts specific to your domain expertise. For example, If you’re keen on furthering a career in data analytics, sign up to read updates on this domain. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and gain access to relevant data and alerts in your field, giving you an edge over those possessing only technical knowledge.
  1. Maintain a list of interests, expertise, skills and knowledge so you have a visual overview of your potential.

Charting out your domain expertise, skills, interests, and experiences helps you gain a long-term vision in terms of your career. This provides your interview preparation with a strong purpose. Applicants looking at a short-term salary or prerequisite offering without a purpose or some tangible goals, often fail in their interview preparation because their targets are unclear

As smart and hardworking as this individual and many others like her are, the one thing that keeps them from landing a job is not getting the interview process right.