How the next step can lead to the right step

By Liam Horan, Managing Director, Sli Nua Careers

Q: I am going for a job in a progressive company but, to be honest, it’s not really the job I want. It is a step down the ladder from where I would like to be in the same company and I can’t deny that I will be watching to move up as soon as possible. How do I handle this in interview? I don’t want to make a false move that would cost me dearly at this critical juncture. I know I can be an immediate success in the advertised job (DR, email).

A: We put this question to three of our career coaches, DR, and below is what they said.

MARKBe-a-key-player-Invest MCDONALD, DUBLIN NORTH: I have worked with clients who have experienced similar dilemmas when preparing for interview. My advice to you DR is to always prepare an answer in advance of being asked such a question. It’s not unusual for a candidate to take a step down in order to progress a career long-term. You need to demonstrate that your primary focus is to add tangible value to the role for which you are interviewing.  It’s good to demonstrate career aspirations when moving into a new organisation. However, you need to explain that your complete focus will be on the role and it’s your job to ensure that you perform in the position to the very best of your ability.

MARY O’BRIEN-KILLEEN, CLAREMORRIS: DR, my approach to this situation is to concentrate firstly on getting the job for which you have applied. During the interview let the panel know that you are an ambitious individual and that you acknowledge the importance of professional development. You can then show them that, in the event of being successful in this particular appointment, you would envisage developing your career with the company if and when the opportunity arises – but only when it arises. It’s like climbing a ladder – one step at a time. Don’t get ahead of yourself.

MICK O’CONNOR, ATHLONE: DR, I concur with the opinions expressed by my colleagues. Get the job first, and then worry about the next steps.

I think it might be appropriate in light of what my colleagues have written to take a look at what those steps might those be?

When you get the job, and start in the company, set about making an impression with fellow colleagues and management. Be a visible presence and contribute positively at meetings. Each day will bring its own learning curve and will allow you to reach a point where you can confidently apply for a promotion.

Showing that you will commit to the company, and be a key player in its future, will ensure you have a better chance of moving up the ladder.

In this way, you can ensure that not only do you carry out good work in the position you have just secured, but you also put yourself in the frame for future promotions. Given that you have designs on a place higher up the pecking order, you owe it to yourself to do whatever is required to keep yourself in the proverbial shop window within the company.

If you would like to make a booking with any of our career coaches mentioned above, see HERE for CV Preparation and Interview Training.