In my opinion, interviewing is like driving long distances. You need to be to be prepared for every eventuality and ensure that you can safely navigate the traffic to get to your destination.
There are many different types of people on our roads, people from different backgrounds with different approaches to driving. You need to be prepared.
What do I mean by this analogy?
We are working in a world which is becoming more complex, a truly global economy and workplace. Companies are trying to keep pace with the changes of competitive market places and everyone is looking to attract the best talent. Companies need to cope also with the challenges on their journey, as does any potential employee.
In order to be successful in your interview process you need to be well prepared for your journey as there will be roadblocks and challenges along the way which you will need to navigate in order to successfully reach your destination – A new career!
I have spoken to a number of candidates who I have represented about how they have secured previous roles. In many cases people have secured roles as they have been recommended for the role via an ex Manager or colleague. This can create a situation where they may not be used to going through a complex, and sometimes frustrating, recruitment process.
There are more cars on the road these days, there are also more candidates on the market too, hence more competition. You need to be prepared for a very thorough recruitment process. If you leave anything to chance you may not secure that coveted role.
Plan your route and be on time:
We have a 3 month old baby girl and we were surprised how much preparation we need to do these days in order to go and meet friends for lunch or a simple trip into the city. We took her to see the family over Easter and had to be very prepared for a four hour journey.
Please make sure that you are on time for your interview!
Arrive earlier, make sure that you know where the client is based and that you have planned your travel accordingly. It is always better to be early and do some final preparation than to be late.
Clean your windows, mirrors and lights often so the driver can see properly:
In any long journey it is sensible to have your windows, mirrors and lights clean so that you can see properly. Please dress appropriately for an interview. Do not take this analogy literally and arrive in fluorescent clothing. Business attire will do.
I would always suggest that you arrive in business attire unless told otherwise. You can always adapt your “look” once you have secured the role.
My thoughts bring me to two Financial Services organisations which have a different view on dress codes. One has a more relaxed dress code and the other is more formal and really puts an emphasis on how appropriately the interviewee is dressed. A Manager told me that people have been rejected as they were not deemed to be dressed appropriately for the interview.
If you are in doubt about this ask the recruitment agency who is representing your or the client before the interview.
Do your research:
Ok, we can save time these days with satellite navigation systems. However, if you were driving from Melbourne to Sydney, for example, you may want to research the route and where you want to stop for a rest or an overnight stay.
Doing your research is a must for any interview.
This is your interview and your career. This is where you must take ownership.
Have you looked at the company website, annual report, investor relations?
What do you know about the person who you are meeting? Do they have a LinkedIn profile? Any information about them online?
Do you have any friends or colleagues who work at the client, what do they say about the company and culture?
What do you know about the clients’ strategy?
This is like passing your driving test. Having a permit maybe akin to your qualifications and certifications.
Having driven the requisite amount of hours is like having examples to assure the client that you are the right person for the role?
Look at examples on delivery, stakeholder management, vendor management, problem solving.
Can you bring example work with you?
Have you provided references?
Practise makes perfect:
The more experience that you have in driving long distances the more confident you are in driving in different conditions, geographies, etc. I remember the first time that I drove an automatic car, it took me a while to realise that I just needed to put my left foot on the floor as it was not needed!
Have you practiced your interview technique at home or with colleagues? Do you have a mentor who can run through all of this with you? Is your recruitment agent helping your prepare? They should be!