Something that I see quite a bit in my line of business is extraordinarily talented and capable professionals continually finishing 'second' when apply for higher roles. They have the experience, the skills, enthusiasm and the passion required for the role, they just can't seem to land the job.
Does this sound familiar? There may be many reasons, unbeknown to you and out of your control, why the job has not become yours eg. an internal candidate has been groomed for the role, the successful candidate has experience in an extremely specialised area.
It may, however, be because you are unable to articulate your value and worth to the team, the department and the organisation in a way that catapults you to the front of the pecking order - and holds you there. This could be due to lack of preparation, lack of confidence or communication skills or good old fashioned stage fright.
We all know what we are good at, right? Something I was extremely good at, throughout my career, was interviews. I enjoyed them. I had fun with them. I always nailed them. If you have found yourself feeling nervous or unsuccessful when it comes to interviews in the past, or would like to avoid it in the future, here are 7 tips to nailing the next interview. Spoiler alert: most of them you do before you even arrive. 1. Research, Research and Research some more. The very first question I ask every candidate, and I'm not alone, is in three parts: a) What can you tell me about us? b) What can you tell me about the role? c) What inspired you to apply for the role? More than once, the candidate has disappointingly been unable to describe the organisation and/or the role. If you don't know what the organisation does or what the role entails, how do you know if you are the right fit? On the flip side, one candidate pulled out a folder and we could see she'd printed out every page of our website, made her own notes and had excellent questions for us about the organisation and department's future vision. She was offered the job. 2. The Role and You Once you are knowledgeable about the company and the role, get clear on why it's a match for you. Create a brag document (remember, it's not bragging if it's true), outlining all your skills, strengths, gifts and successes. Highlight the ones that will serve you, the team and the organisation if you are the successful candidate. Talk about them in the interview. Do not be afraid to admit you are not already experienced in every aspect of the role. Why would you be applying for a role that you already have, or have done before? Be ready to explain where you are excited to be challenged, learn, grow and expand. 3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings (before you enter the interview). If the interview is a physical interview, ensure you know where the building is located, how to enter and the time it may take to find reception and/or the pre-arranged meeting place ie. high rise buildings may have security before reception. Be aware of everyone you interact with on the way to the interview. That person you spill coffee on in the cafe next door (due to nerves) may very well be your interviewer. The receptionist you're dismissive to may report your behaviour back to the interview panel pretty quickly. If the interview is online via video, ensure that software is downloaded onto your computer or tablet and test it earlier in the day. Ensure your headset, mic and speakers are in working order. 4. First Impressions Count Dress aligned with the organisation and role. Check their website to get a sense of their dress code, if you are unsure. Make eye-contact, shake hands (if applicable), smile. Be ready for any small talk the panel may begin with. If online, check your background is clean, tidy and professional; or select a virtual background provided by most online software these days. 5. Know your CV/Resume Backwards It may be a while since you looked at your resume, or a professional resume writer may have prepared it for you. If this is you, please, I implore you, know what's on it. Answering with "Oh, may I take a look at that?" when you're asked about something on your resume creates mistrust, suspicion and is just plain awkward. This is a true story and did not go over well with myself and other members of the recruitment panel. 6. Get Your Head in the Game If you don't feel worthy for the role...if you feel like an fraud or an impostor...if self-doubt creeps in and renders you speechless...if a lack of confidence causes a physical reaction...if a voice is whispering you're not 'good/experienced/qualified/smart enough'...if you hear your old school teacher's statement that you'll never amount to anything...you may be self-sabotaging your efforts and thus your career. It may be time to invest in yourself. You are your biggest investment, after all.
7. Be Prepared for the 'Weakness' Question
I saw this question in a Facebook group yesterday: 'I have an interview coming up. What do I say when asked what my weaknesses are?' I was shocked and dismayed to see many people had posted comments, advising this person exactly what to say, word for word. If you are asked what your weaknesses are I invite you to steer away from the well-worn 'I'm a perfectionist' or 'I work too hard'. Your most likely response will be an eye roll. Be honest. Where are you excited to learn more, expand more, grow more? Within this team and organisation, with your potential new boss as your coach and leader? Be prepared for the question, and if it's asked, tell them the truth. Imagine being able to move through your career with unwavering confidence, nail any interview you step into, clearly articulate your worth (even though you won't have to - your performance will speak for itself) and say sayonara to self-doubt.
Imagine having more courage at work, more confidence, more influence. Imagine nailing any professional conversation - an honest one, an aligned one, an inspiring one.
Imagine cultivating an emotional intelligence so strong that no situation, nor person, creates a reaction in you. Imagine being able to respond to any situation (or crisis!) calmly, rationally and intelligently.
Imagine being able to clearly articulate your Vision - upwards, downwards, sideways - so clearly, passionately and persuasively that everyone's excited to help you create it.
Can you feel it? Does it feel like personal power? Does it feel like freedom?
Does it feel like something you'd value spending six months stepping into?
Then I invite you to join me for my 2021 leadership program, THE LEADERSHIP LOUNGE, and take the reins of your career... on a really fun and magical horse. Maybe even a unicorn.
It's going to be fun, contemporary (designed for 2021 and beyond) and of extreme value.
I invite all current, new and emerging leaders (if leadership is your next step this is your secret advantage) to click through and read all the information. If it calls out to you, contact us via the registration link.
Until I see you again, stay healthy and safe.