At some point in your career, it’s likely you’ve considered applying for a role a step up from what you’ve been doing. After submitting your resume and cover letter, you’ve been able to secure an interview. Success, the recruiting gods have smiled upon you! Not so fast; if you’re looking to compete with already established senior professionals, you’ve got some heavy preparation in your future. Consider these interview tips to help you obtain that higher role.
When it comes to obtaining a job that’s a step above your current level, you’re likely up against three kinds of competitors: people like you who are hoping to step up, people currently working at that level, and people working a step above that are expanding their search to titles a step beneath them. If you’re going to compete with the more senior candidates, you’ve got to be prepared. Try the following interview tips:
Do the Research. If you’re a Sales Manager, but you’re hoping to be a Sales Director, you should reach out to people with that current title in your network. Find out what skills they’d recommend you study up on before your interview. Learn how these skills are obtained, what the benchmarks are for success, and where the industry is heading. It would behoove you to hop on a call and pick this contact’s brain to find out as much information as possible that you can use during your interview. Practice being able to use this information as segues into talking about your skills and experience. The idea here is to show your hiring manager that you know just as much, if not more, than the other candidates in this position.
Connect Your Skills to the Job Description. In many cases, it can be difficult to determine whether a Manager can make the leap to Director. Help your interviewer out by framing your position for them. In many large companies, Managers simply don’t establish strategy the way a Director might. It’s helpful for you to tell them that as a Manager you were the sole leader of the department or that you were responsible for the strategic direction of the company’s sales program. In these instances, you’re connecting the dots for the hiring manager and showing them that your skills are equivalent to that of a department head.
Offer Opportunities to Enhance Results and Save Money. As a Marketing Manager, I often find that employers are polarized on the role of marketing. In some companies, marketers are expected to write, know graphic design, code, and maintain websites. In others, they are expected to solely focus on one area. It’s helpful to make your interviewer aware of your diverse skill set and to frame it as an opportunity to save money in outside design costs. Or, you can pitch it as an opportunity to grow their capabilities and enhance their results. These kinds of opportunities catch a hiring manager’s attention and communicate leadership qualities.
Brainstorm Solutions to their Problems. When it comes to interviewing tips, this one can be tricky. All companies have pain points. Often, they’re hiring because they’re looking for opportunities to propel their growth. However, these could be difficult to discover. Being able to come up with a good solution may require a lot of research into the company, the industry, and its clients. However, the benefit of coming prepared with such a solution is that you establish yourself as a candidate who can hit the ground running. Being able to speak authoritatively about an employer’s business and to offer a great solution establishes yourself as the candidate at the head of the pack. This communicates leadership and the potential to drive results.
Whether you’ll be attending an in person or video interview, the hiring manager is often looking for a large intangible: passion. This passion is communicated in your tone of voice, your facial cues and the words you choose. Remember, many organizations are looking for the “it” factor in candidates. One of the best interview tips we can offer is to keep it positive, prepare heavily for the interview, and communicate your desire and passion. If you keep these interview tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to securing that higher role.