I have several clients who are currently interviewing for a new position/promotion within their existing company or in some cases other positions outside their current employer. Many are seasoned veterans who have not had to formally interview in quite some time. So – how can they get noticed and stand out when so many of the individuals they are up against are equally qualified?
This is an art – not a science – as we all know. Yet, there are a few easy tips to keep in mind:
1. The devil IS in the details. So, when you are presenting yourself – in person, electronically, or in hard copy format – be polished in every way. No typos. Prompt thank you notes and emails. Be on time. Be prepared. All the details we often let go by the wayside the higher we climb in the corporate chain, COUNT. I am here to tell you – these small details and nuances matter.
2. Stay curious and open. Interviews are often not so much what you tell them about you – it is what you ASK that makes the difference. Go broad and deep…industry, company, culture, leadership, current challenges, etc. The questions show your thoughtfulness (or lack thereof), and this is a sign of maturity and executive thinking.
3. Pre-briefing calls and phone interviews are not casual get-to-know-you conversations. Treat every interaction like it is the real deal. Smile while talking (they can tell….even if over the phone). Keep the energy high – without being an “eager beaver.” Be prepared and professional.
4. Finally, have your answer to the “So what?” question well engrained in your mind. In other words…Why YOU? It is not enough to share what you have done, where you have done it, etc. You need to be clear on what it is that you uniquely offer and the results you can bring to the table. Full stop. In preparing for your interview, ask yourself at the end of every question asked – did I make it clear what I uniquely offered and delivered? If the answer is “I’m not sure,” then start over and create sharp, crisp answers which leave your mark. THAT is how you will be remembered when stacked up against others of equal tenure and experience.