The first few months of the year through spring are some of the best times to consider a career move, with the combination of a contemplation through January and typically the opportunity to pick up bonuses in February and March. As a result, I thought I would share some tips on how to maximise your impact while interviewing if you want to be on the front foot.
The key here is to approach every interview process as if this is your ideal next role so that YOU have best prepared if through the interviews the opportunity really is enticing. You’d be surprised to which extent people’s perception of a role and business significantly improves having met with the leadership team, seen the office environment and heard more about the role and opportunity from those on the front line. If you haven’t fully prepared or don’t go in with 90+% commitment, the opportunity is probably already lost…and I’d argue you’re doing yourself a disservice.
- Research the company thoroughly
There are hundreds of free resources available but some of the most obvious include; the corporate website, LinkedIn, Duedil, Google News, Reuters & Wikipedia. You should be looking for information on what the company does, where it operates, its ownership structure, the reputation of the management, company history, values, mission statement and any recent developments or launches
- Research competitors or threats if any?
You want to make sure you have a strong sense of how they stand up against their competitors and ultimately where, if any, the threats and opportunities lie. However, don’t become disenchanted if they aren’t the market leader, that’s often when you can add the most value!
- Research the management team and interviewers
In particular, the stakeholders this role will be interacting with. Have a look at their professional profiles – where have they worked before? What did they study? Where have they lived? Do you have any connections in common? Familiar interests, awards, qualifications … This will start to give you a sense of the culture and types of people they hire. You may also meet them during the interview process and building rapport through familiarity is powerful.
- Experience the customer journey
Unless you’re applying for a job at Virgin Galactic or Sunseeker it is vital that you experience the customer journey and where possible, buy the product or use the service. If they don’t give you an opportunity to drop this into the conversation, create one! It will demonstrate the effort you’ve put in and you will have a much better understanding of what they do and don’t do so well. If you don’t have experience and an opinion, you’ll be judged negatively from the get-go.
- Re-read your CV and the job description
I know you know your CV, you lived it, but have you really invested time into understanding how your CV relates to the brief? And is all the relevant information included in your CV? If not, you may wish to highlight this in the interview or send over an updated version in line with the brief beforehand (I strongly advise the latter!).
- Ensure you’re dressed appropriately
Call up reception or headhunter and ask for the dress code if you’re not sure. You don’t want to be under or over-dressed. Know your audience.
- Prep call with the headhunter
Most headhunters will instigate this but if not, ask. Ensure you have a day or two before hand to speak with them about their view on the company, culture, personalities of those you’ll be meeting and of course, the format of the interview. You can use this invaluable opportunity to ask any outstanding questions you have and have time to get some answers.
- Consider what you want to get out of it
Take time to consider what your ambitions and career goals are. This is as much an opportunity for you to interview the business as it is for them to interview you – the fit needs to be right on both sides. Will it meet the expectations of your ideal next career move? Will it provide you with the necessary challenges and opportunities? Will you get the autonomy you require or support necessary to grow? Prepare questions that will enable you to answer these. However, don’t come across too strong, you may want to spread them out over one or two interview stages focusing on the most critical first.
We hope this provides some guidance but above all be yourself. Be calm, confident and prepared. There are of course so many ways you can get an edge on your competition but ultimately, go the extra mile and you’ll be in the strongest possible position.