Preparing for an interview | by Chantal Kading

In Chantal Kadingthe past, success was based on skills and our ability to network. However, in the current social-media-and-technology age, we allow strangers into our lives and our inner monologues, making managing your personal professional brand more important than ever. Interviewing is a critical marketing opportunity for you. Interviewing is not only about landing the dream job, it’s also about marketing your brand and presenting your portfolio of evidence.

Interviews are important and need to be a conscious strategy for future success, and not just for window shopping opportunities. Many organisations express frustration around candidates, who impress on paper, but disappoint in person. Before the interview, there are key elements that need to be considered; knowing yourself, your needs, and your desires for the future. This not only establishes confidence for your interview but allows you to align your actions to your vision.

Do your pre-interview research
Researching any prospective employer is the first step in preparing for an interview. However, it is not about browsing the company website for facts and annual reports, it is about finding information that you can leverage. For example, using Twitter to get an understanding of the kind of conversations that are happening in the organisation, and the type of interactions that are happening internally.

Make a good first impressions
The waiting room is like a glass display box – you need to be ready, poised and presentable. Arriving a few minutes early allows you to settle yourself as well as get a feel for the culture and environment.

First impressions count. A firm handshake and good eye contact is key. A great tip is to ask the interviewer to lead you to the interview room, so you don’t have that awkward, hesitant left-or-right indecision at every intersection. Another good technique is to match and mirror the person’s voice, in terms of pitch, volume and speed.

Navigating the telephonic interview
There are many different types of interviews and knowing which type to prepare for is important. Telephonic interviews are challenging as your voice needs to convey your personality, while research has shown that non-verbal communication is more important than the words we use.

A trick I’ve learnt is to prepare as if you are having a face-to-face interview, as this helps to get in the zone. I also recommend standing up for the duration of the interview, or, at least, the beginning of it: the elevation will assist with voice projection and confidence. Try to smile.

Key competencies for procurement and supply chain
If you are looking in the procurement and supply chain space, below are the key competencies you should be looking to highlight in your intervieinterview123w:

   1. Managing vision and purpose;
   2. Strategic agility;
   3. Innovation management;
   4. Creativity;
   5. Building effective teams;
   6. Motivating others;
   7. Planning
   8. Dealing with ambiguity

Critical questions
There are several deal-breaker questions we often see people fail:

1. Tell me about yourself? This is the easiest and hardest question. You need to be the storyteller of your career story. You should prepare your elevator speech (a short overview that makes you an ideal employee), engage your audience, show your career highlights, where have you saved costs, increased revenue, or affected change in business or people.

2. What is your five-year plan? You don’t need the perfect answer, you don’t need to know the future, but it is important that you have a direction.

3. What is your reason for leaving? Know why you want to leave and why this new role lines up with your future plans. Focus on what you are not getting for your career or life based on your priorities and what you need.

Interviewing the interviewer
Show an interest in this person, their leadership, their company, and how you can add value to them and yourself. Ask what the company’s vision is and the what the line-managers goals and priorities are for the next period, and how can you contribute to that.

Post interview tips
On your exit, thank people for their time, if you are interested in pursuing the role, tell them so. If you are uncertain, sleep on it. Have your questions clarified and be decisive about continuing the engagement. We often say that the way you project manage the recruitment process is the only way for them to see how you would manage yourself and the work in their environment.

Your career is your life’s work, choose it consciously, represent your brand authentically and live your best life.

Chantal Kading is the Managing Director of recruitment and talent management company The People Shop - www.peopleshop.co.za

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Posted on November 14, 2018

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