When going for a job interview, the tendency is to look to what you have done in the past – but you might only be telling half the story they need to hear, writes Liam Horan, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.
In my experience, candidates all too often look inwards when preparing for interview. They wonder if they have this or that and frequently bemoan something missing in their experience or education.
While you must, of course, look to what you have done, and assemble evidence of experience or skills that will interest the employer, you can steal a march on many of your rivals by also casting a strategic eye on the future.
Here are eleven questions you could ask yourself while preparing for the next interview:
- What plans has this company got for the immediate and long-term future?
- How well do I know these plans?
- In what way do the company’s plans differ from those of others in their sector?
- What plans have other companies in this sector – i.e. their rivals?
- What trends are emerging in the sector – new technologies, pricing structures and so?
- Is there any legislation or regulatory change in the offing that could impact upon this company and/or their sector?
- Is there anything in the immediate geographical vicinity that might be relevant to this company? For example, if I am applying for a job in Limerick this week, I really should know something about the Atlantic Edge, European Embrace campaign launched last week.
- Is there anything I have done that closely matches something the company wishes to do?
- What ideas have I to bring to this company?
- Have I read relevant reports on the sector and formed my own conclusions on them?
- Can I talk knowledgeably about developments in this sector outside of Ireland?
By looking at the company and sector in this way, you take yourself out of yourself. There are points to be scored by showing a deep understanding of where a company or industry is going.
We can get pretty insular about our own careers: one of the great, often under-estimated, benefits of getting out and about to meet other people is that they expose you to alternative ideas and approaches. They make you think afresh.
The same is true of job interviews. Don’t just bring what you have done to the interview: bring an understanding of what may lie in the future for the organisation whose interest you are trying to prick. Step into their shoes.
If you do, you are likely to gain ground on your competitors because most of them don’t think like this. Day after day, I meet candidates who have not taken the extra step to assess the future in the way I’ve outlined above.
When you do this, not alone do you convince the interview panel that you have prepared assiduously for the interview and that you really want the job, but you are also likely to stimulate them to discuss their business in a more insightful way. And as I’ve said so often before here, getting them talking too can generally be taken as a good sign.
Be the candidate who brings out the best in you – and them.
Liam Horan is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers in Ballinrobe.
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