How To Advance Your Candidacy for a Position
By Megan Masoner
Building a successful career requires persistence, preparedness, and confidence. Once you’ve gotten to the door, you must make the right moves to get through it as you seek to advance your candidacy.
Be sharp. Once you’ve been invited to interview, your work has just begun. Prepare yourself both mentally and emotionally. If you do, your body language will reflect confidence and comfort, which is key to any interview. Walk into every interview with the intent that the next 60 minutes could change your life. Show your authentic passion and enthusiasm for the opportunity, and you will draw others to you.
Do your homework. Learn about the person who will be conducting the interview. All too often we come in over prepared about the company, but under prepared about the interviewer. People are flattered when you express interest in their experience. There are a lot of ways you can locate this information: ask the Administrative Assistant who is scheduling the interview, ask your recruiter, Google the person (they may be published which gives you direct insight to their experience), or just listen for their strengths as they mention them throughout the interview.
Establish trust. Quite simply, credibility can’t be replaced.
Focus on what you have to offer, not what you may be lacking. Forget about answering all questions “correctly.” Nine times out of ten there are no “correct” answers. The interviewer is looking for creativity, persistence, and evidence of your ability to get the job done.
Listen. Not only do you want to hear what the interviewers are saying, but you want to understand what the interviewers are asking for. What do they get enthusiastic about? Through the tone of their voice you can derive the hot spots of the job (areas of greatest need). Align your experiences and responses to the areas for which they express their greatest enthusiasm. Showcase your experience through relevant examples and reinforce throughout the interview.
Remember innovation and initiative. Always be prepared with an out of the box innovative idea that you took from concept to execution. No matter how big or small, in today’s competitive market, systematic thinking is essential. Highlight the moments in your career when you weren’t asked to do something, but did it successfully anyway.
Measure up. Too often we state our accomplishments in very broad terms. Remember to give quantitative measures on how you succeeded. Not just “I deployed a quality improvement program,” but “I deployed a quality improvement program increasing productivity by 20% through the following three key enhancements…” List specifics, but don’t get bogged down with the details. Focus on the results and articulate how you drove success.
Follow up. When closing an interview and you get to the “what questions do you have for me?” portion ask the interviewer directly what he or she feels would constitute success for the person that will hold the desired position? Then use it as an opportunity to close highlighting how the strengths you have would enable that success. You can even use the strengths mentioned as an opener for a post interview thank you note. Before leaving don’t forget to ask for the job, demonstrate your commitment, and reiterate your ability to deliver.
Be creative, if you don’t market yourself no one else will. It may be the differentiator between you and the other candidates that day. Prepare a small leave behind or summary sheet that uniquely summarizes your strengths. This may be a bio, a list of accomplishments, or even quotes from peers or leaders demonstrating your performance. Most likely the recruiter will attach it to the top of your resume, and it serves as a reminder of some of the highlights you have likely mentioned throughout your interview.
Masoner is the Director of Global Recruitment at EDS. Edscareers.com