In the tough job market that we find ourselves in, it is really important that when you find an opportunity that you are interested in, that you do all you can to ensure you convert the opportunity into an offer. The purpose of this article is to share with you our insider knowledge harnessed over nearly three decades in the fields of recruitment and outplacement, to ensure that you convert that opportunity and tread the right side of those fine lines that often separate the successful candidate from the non-successful.
1) Practice, Practice, Practice
It was the golfer Gary Player who said “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” Well the same applies for interview preparation. It is only natural that if you haven’t been interviewed for some time, that you might be a tad rusty. Remember that interviewing and being interviewed are very different experiences, therefore, it is important to get that rustiness out in a safe environment and use a friend or career coach as the interviewer to give you a ‘dress rehearsal.’ Here you can practice how you articulate your responses and if any of them feel a bit clunky, you have the opportunity to finesse them before the interview itself. You have worked really hard to get to this point, so please don’t ‘wing it’ as you might be good at interviewing, but so will be your competition. Don’t leave it to chance!
2) Be Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is when they try to act the role of what they ‘think’ the company they are interviewing demands of them, rather than being themselves. We see this not only in interviews, but also when people complete psychometric profiles where people guess what they think are the ‘right’ answers, rather than selecting the ones that are really them as an individual. Remember that there is no such thing as a wrong answer in a psychometric and there is a real risk that in trying to guess what the company is looking for, you might get it totally wrong. Securing a role where you have not been true to yourself is rarely a recipe for success.
3) Create a business case for hiring you
The most successful candidates (in the commercial world) are those who can clearly demonstrate to their potential employer how they will enjoy a return on investment from hiring them, showing clearly how you will cover the cost of your fully loaded salary many times over in the course of performing your role. Think about how you make money (directly or indirectly), how you save money, improve productivity, decrease time to market, improve quality, increase customer satisfaction etc. Also, what network contacts can you bring that you/the company can leverage that would be of value? This way the employer can look at not only you as an individual, but also more holistically at what you can bring to the table.
4) Manage the recruitment process
How you progress the conversation from one interview to the next and how you manage the key stakeholders and influencers is often a key factor in being the successful candidate in a highly competitive recruitment process. You have a real opportunity to demonstrate your competencies in the way that you do this. Send a thankyou follow up email after each interview (simple I know but still much rarer than you might think). Look for ways of continuing the conversation and staying at the forefront of their mind. For example, is there any evidence that you can send them that illustrates something you discussed e.g. ‘I have been reflecting on the conversation we had the other day on the importance in this role of building outstanding customer relationships. I have attached a number of customer testimonials that I received in my previous role, that further illustrates my ability to develop outstanding and long-term customer relationships. Any of these customers would be delighted to talk to your personally to share their experiences directly with you should you so wish.’
5) Work on a 30/60/90-day plan
Sometimes candidates are asked to work on a 30/60/90 day plan as part of the recruitment process, but even if you are not asked to do so. Doing this off your own back is extremely popular with potential employers. Of course, you will be making some assumptions when you draw up your plan and that is fine, but it is an excellent and proactive way for you to show your prospective employer not only that you are right for the role, but also how you would do around doing the role itself and fast track your productivity in the first 90 days. Put yourself in the shoes of the employer here, how would you feel if a potential candidate had taken the time and effort to demonstrate to you how they would go around performing the role and adding value as quickly as possible? Would it make them stand out from the crowd?
6) Show you have done your due diligence
Prior to your interview, conduct some proper due diligence on both the company and the person/people interviewing you. With the company, I am not talking about just looking at their website, I am talking about doing some in depth research on the organisation, their place in the market, their differentiators, their competitors etc. Really get under the skin of the organisation and incorporate what you have found in the questions that you ask. On the person, do you know someone who is connected to them on LinkedIn who can give you some insight into them? What do you know about their background that would help to establish rapport? etc.
The beauty of these six steps are their simplicity, there is really nothing complex here. Picture two very similar candidates and one of them has passively gone on the recruitment journey whilst the other has rehearsed thoroughly for the interview, has a clear business case that they can articulate for hiring them, has built rapport throughout the recruitment process, has proactively produced their own 30/60/90 day plan and demonstrated an in depth understanding of the company and their sector. Which of those do you think has the best chance of converting that opportunity into an offer?
Connor’s personal approach to outplacement means we are there to support and develop you every step of the way during your job search, for as long as it takes. To find out more about how Connor can support you and your organisation, click here.