Sharpen Your Interview Edge
Are you one of the many professionals seeking a different or higher-level leadership position this upcoming year? If so, don’t just assume you’re a natural at interviewing for a job because rare is the person who can ace an interview without polishing their skills and practicing ahead of time. Be strategic about how you prepare and practice for the interview, carving out the time you’ll need to get it right and feel confident about it. Also, when it comes to interviewing for a leadership position, determine how your leadership strengths and experiences align with the goals and demands of that particular job. January is one of the busiest times of the year for job seekers and companies looking to hire. Don’t miss out on landing a coveted leadership role by overlooking the importance of sharpening your interview edge.
Here are a few tips that can help you accelerate your interviewing excellence:
Do your homework. This is just pure, common sense but you wouldn’t believe the number of people I’ve interviewed for leadership positions who didn’t know anything about the company or what the job would entail. Particularly in interviewing for leadership roles, it’s essential to show that you’ve got self-initiative and an interest in knowing about the company that may hire you. Always research the organization, get some understanding of the key issues affecting that company and its market, and learn something about the industry in which you’ll be working. At a minimum, go online to the company’s website—you can learn a lot about a business’s website, everything from their mission to their values, history, people and more. Try to talk to people both inside and outside the company, even calling the person who will be interviewing you and asking for more insight on the job, company, and/or industry.
Prove—don’t just promote—your greatness. When you prepare to talk about your strengths, think of examples that will demonstrate and testify to whatever those are. For example, if you’re a proven, effective communicator, perhaps give an example of how handling a difficult conversation with tact resulted in a major win for your organization. Or if in your last job you developed new communication avenues that improved efficiencies and reduced errors, make sure you can give examples of what you developed. Behavior-based interview answers are the most effective because past behavior is the best predictor of future success.
Project as if you’ve already got the job. The people interviewing you for a leadership job need to get a solid sense for what you’ll be like in that position. They need to be able to “see” you in it, managing the roles and responsibilities with tact and ease. Even if you’re nervous about what the job will demand of you, call upon your courage and be confident, talking as if you’re already in that position. Considering that confidence is a trait that’s essential for any leader, exuding confidence as you explain how you handled various aspects of the job is an interview-must. Simply talking as if you’ve got the job helps people envision exactly how you’ll be. If they like it, then your odds of getting hired go up!
What question has caught you off-guard when you interviewed for a leadership position?