Demonstrate the right skills and behaviours at every stage of the interview process
Use the whole interview process to demonstrate all your skills. It’s the best chance for your potential employer to have a real sense of what it will be like to have you in their business. Start with the recruiter, particularly if the role is being managed through an in-house recruitment team. Be polite and professional when you arrange appointments; if you commit to do or provide something, do what you promise.
Be on it from the moment you are on the premises. And that’s with the security guard, the receptionist, the executive assistant; not just with the person interviewing you. Businesses talk.
When it is time to sort out your package negotiate, but negotiate hard but fair. Negotiate as if you were doing a deal for them. So, be well informed, understand the context and the personalities; know what is important to them and how your role will fit into their overall strategy and, in particular, their priorities. Show them what you can do – if you’re a salesman, sell yourself: if you’re a negotiator, negotiate elegantly. Make them want to do business with you.
I was once involved in recruiting a sales leader who was moving from a contract role to a permanent one in our business. As you would expect from a senior sales leader, she negotiated hard; but she was effective and used a fantastic narrative the whole way through. She had also done her research – she knew what she was worth in the market and had enough depth of knowledge about our business that she could make her demands consistent and logical in the context of our plans. In effect, we felt what it would be like to have her on the other side of a negotiation with us. And we liked it; we liked her style, approach and strength. So, not only did she get the job but she got a great deal too.
And remember, your behaviours and soft skills are key. Show them you have the right set of values and behaviours that will sit well with their business. Indeed, so little of the process will be within your control other than the way you behave. Never give a hint of desperation; be calm and content to proceed at their pace. Do the right thing, and you have a better chance of that role or building a relationship that might lead to another role in the future. Behave poorly, and you have little chance of either.
Finally, if you want the job, commit quickly when the time is right. Ask for updates, news and intelligence before you join. Be part of the team before you even join the team.
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