For the past 5 years on this blog, you have been able to follow my adventure in becoming a successful financial planner. In the upcoming days, I’ll be trying to get another promotion (read why here). I’m writing these lines while I don’t even know if I’ll get an interview or not (so I might be preparing for nothing, lol!), but I thought it would make this post more authentic ;-).
Over the years, I’ve shared with you my interview tricks along with my answers to tough interview questions. So today, I’ll tell you how I prepare for an interview. Most people think that the interview itself is the hardest part of the hiring process and they are darn wrong. In fact, the preparation for it is way more important than anything. The interview is like a show; you need to practice and still be ready to improvise when the lights go on!
Interview preparation 201
In my interview tricks, I mentioned 2 very important things: knowing the job and knowing the interviewer. But there is even more to it. In fact, if you can get a “pre-interview” with your interviewer, you can make things even easier.
How do I get a “pre-interview”???
It seems quite hard but in fact, it is easier than having the interview! The trick is to know where you want to work eventually. This could be as close as 3 months away or as far as 1 or 2 years down the road. Once you know where you want to work, find out who the manager of this department is (that’s the easy part 😉 ). Once you have found the contact info, pick up the phone and call him… Nah! don’t do this.
This person holds the key to your next job. But you just can’t show up and grab it to open the door. You have to be smarter than that ;-). If you have a good network (thx to my MBA), it shouldn’t be that difficult to find someone who knows that person. Then, you can ask your connection to meet the key person that will become your future manager. A lunch, a conference or a round of golf, anything is suitable to make your first impression.
Because this is what you are looking for: making a first impression before you get your interview. This is what I did this time; I had lunch this summer with the guy who is now hiring. I had the chance to talk to him in a semi-formal situation instead of meeting him for the first time during the interview. This gives you enough time to know what this person is like and better yet if you would like to work for him (I truly believe in the employee-employer match). If you see yourself working for this individual, then you can go further and try to know a little bit more about him. By interesting yourself in someone, you become interesting. Plus, you discover a lot of interesting things! I went through several awesome encounters with this technique.
Know the job part 2
I told you before that if you know the job you are applying for, you are a step ahead of everybody. Well the best way to know about a job that you have never done before is to ask someone who’s doing the job to spend some time with you. This way you get a real inside look at the job and its pros and cons. You become aware of what is acceptable and what’s not.
It gives you the great opportunity to know if you really want to do this job + you are making a connection with someone who’s already doing it. This will greatly help your integration into the team if you are ever selected for the position. When you are accepted by your peers, you will be accepted by your manager. There is one very important thing any manager does before hiring a new face; he thinks about if this new guy will fit into the team. There is nothing more productive than a group of people that get along. While on the opposite side, there is nothing more destructive than when you have discord in a group.
Now I am only left with hope of getting a phone call within the next few days. It’s kind of funny as it is the 3rd time in my life already that I have an interview around Christmas. I guess that the snow makes me want to change stuff in my life once in a while ;-).
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