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Tips to Prepare for a Management Level Job Interview

17 January 2013 No Comment

Tips to Prepare for a Management Level Job Interview

job interview, senior manager and young apprentice isolated on wBy The Management Development Program Coordinator, Hajoca Corporation

A person will have several big days in their life and everyone’s definition of what makes a particular day big is different.  For some people, it’s the day they graduate from college or when they get married.  For others, it’s the day they become a parent.  There is no question these moments are what make life tick, what defines us, shapes our happiness and keeps us going.

Switching from the personal to the professional, there are also key milestones in our work lives that can potentially be life changing.  Unquestionably one of the most important of these is the interview.  You know this company has a need and it’s your opportunity to make it clear that you’re the person who can best fulfill it.  And when they agree, you will have accomplished something that no one else could for that position…you get the job.

But how do you get ready for such an important moment?  Here are proven tips to help you put your best foot forward.

It Is a Test, So Do Your Homework and Study

  • Get to know the company.  Start with reading the website, and look for ways to dig deeper.  Identify industry trends by examining trade journals.  Look for news articles describing the company’s reputation.  Does the company have retail locations?  If yes, visit one and observe the employees, customers, and operation.  The goal is establishing yourself as someone who goes the extra mile and enabling you to speak with informed authority.  Anyone can view the website, but you will have more comprehensive knowledge of their reputation and operations to draw on.
  • Leverage connections and make friends.  If you already know someone working for the company, you have a distinct advantage.  Learn everything you can about the culture, the types of people that get hired and who will be interviewing you.  If you don’t have an in, try to change that.  Connect with people through social media and ask around – you just might know someone who knows someone who can give you an edge.
  • Define yourself into the job.  The company has already given savvy interviewers a leg up…they wrote a job posting.  This description is chock full of golden opportunity for you.  The company has a need and they’ve let everyone know exactly who they want to fill it.  So, show them you’re that person!  Tell them exactly which of your assets and achievements match their list of criteria. In other words, you should look at every interview as a chance to set the gold standard for all those who have to interview after you.

How You Present Yourself Says Everything About How You’ll Represent Them

  • Be well groomed.  Pay attention to the details. If you have unkempt hair, dirty fingernails, a stain on your shirt, a fraying hem or something else that gives you a lack of polish, a potential employer is going to draw a parallel from these things to your work.  They will lose confidence in your ability to manage their portfolio, or sell their product, or teach their child and you’ll be sent packing.

What to Pack, What to Scrap

  • Have a copy of your resume.  In fact, bring several copies just in case you’ll be meeting more than one person.  We live in a digital time and, sure, things can be easily shared electronically.  But it’s dangerous to assume people had time to forward and print your resume before an interview.  Even if they aren’t used, have copies on hand and offer one to every person who interviews you.  Bring a list of references.  Not all companies require this, but in case you’re interviewing with a company that does, be prepared to provide them.
  • Bring breath mints, not gum.  It’s OK to have a cup of coffee before your interview (although be careful not to spill!), but no one wants to smell bad breath.  Gum is a major no-no because it’s noisy, unprofessional and something you’ll have to throw away.  A breath mint is discreet, effective and will disintegrate quickly.
  • Get directions.  Or, if you’re using GPS, have the exact address to plug in since there are times a mailing address is different than what works on a digital map.  And give yourself plenty of time to spare.  Better to be early, waiting in the parking lot and totally composed, than sweating bullets and running late.
  • Turn off and store your phone.  If you want this job, it’s important to demonstrate that no text message, phone call, e-mail, game, or tweet is more important than the people you’re meeting face-to-face.  Since your conduct is observed and assessed beyond the interview – in the lobby or even a rest room – keep your phone stored until you’re out of the building.

When a day has this much pressure, it’s advisable not to wing it.  One of the things we look for in everyone entering Hajoca’s Management Training Program is a high level of preparation. We’re looking to potential employees to be leaders in our company and that’s why you could be setting yourself up for failure if you assume your charisma and charm will carry you.  What could have been one of your big days might instead be a day you don’t get a call back and you don’t get the job.  So, using this logic, it literally pays to be prepared.

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