So you have successfuly got an interview…what next?

Due to feedback I received on my CV article, I have compiled some suggestions regarding interviews also. I will extend this to looking at the role of psychometrics in the hiring process at a future stage.

So the question I will address today is where do you start when preparing for an interview?  Every situation is obviously different so what I will do here is attempt to highlight some of the typical areas which present challenges and make some suggestions along the way.

(1)  The biggest challenge I have seen people facing is their ability to talk positively and succinctly about themselves, particularly after redundancy.

Rather than focusing too much on explaining what has happened and ‘telling your story’, it may be helpful to focus on your elevator speech and ensure that this is framed in a positive and forward looking manner.

(2) Someone told me once that an interview is all about two things (a) why do you want the job? and (b) why should the company hire you? This is in fact the essence of any interview.

In the current climate, many people feel that the answer to part (a) is obvious i.e. they need a job. When it comes to part (b) many also struggle to convey their strengths and articulate their fit with the role in a confident manner.

In my opinion these are the most important questions to reflect upon and bottom out beforehand. I would strongly suggest talking these through in advance with a coach or a friend as they are critical to the interview process.

(3) For many people at a senior level it may be 10 or more years since you faced an interview, and even then you may have been approached for the role rather than seeking it out yourself. Many feel frustrated and some intimidated by the prospect of facing into a long interview process.

It may be useful to frame each interview as simply a conversation where both parties are trying to understand the level of fit with each other and the balance of power is more or less equal. By doing this you may be able to present confidently and proactively ask questions to understand if this is indeed the right role for you.

Finally more than every before organisations are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they hire the best candidate. The market has changed significantly, and preparation is more important than ever. Also, psychometrics are playing a greater part in the hiring process. As mentioned earlier, I will prepare a note on their use in the coming weeks which might shed some light on the context in which they are being used.

Leadership and Followership

Well I’m not sure if I love this or hate it but I certainly think it is interesting!

The key point that I take from this is the importance of the first follower. After all, leadership does not exist without followers and the first follower shows others how to follow. As the guy on the video clip states, the leader should embrace this first follower as an equal – after all without him the dancing guy is just ‘a lone nut’!

This clip reminds me of a leadership and followership exercise which I have conducted with different groups of people. It is a problem solving exercise with no official leader appointed, and the objective is to understand and reflect upon the group behaviour and take individual learnings from it.

On occasions, there will be many leaders and not enough followers, and the situation descends into chaos. On other occasions, there are many followers, with no-one clearly articulating how they believe the problem should be solved. Neither situation is better than the other, as either way the group struggles to solve the problem. The key to the exercise is knowing the importance of followership as well as leadership.

As business leaders we have always been taught that leadership is good, but we don’t necessarily appreciate the role of the follower.  We are all leaders and followers in different situations, and the key takeaway for me is to understand which role to fill when.