You’ve awakened and it’s the day you have your first interview with a company you have dreamed of joining for a number of years. Are you ready to have a stellar interview that will bring you to the next level of your career? Can you look in the mirror and honestly say “I am prepared”?
Interview preparation: is it an Art or a Science? To me, as a Recruiter working with Project Managers and Engineering staff, all around the world, I believe it’s an Art form. It’s not something you go to school for, or something they teach in university; it’s really all about you!
I remember back in my early years during school, I started developing my personality traits while playing sports and working at my first job. Team building, communication skills and technical skills are traits your interviewer will ask about during your first meeting and are very important to “sell” to demonstrate the value you can add to the organization. So how do you get there?
The interview process is seen by many as a challenge, filled with a sense of anxiety like you are on a first date. How do we prepare for that first meeting? Preparation in advance before you arrive to the interview will give you a clear mind with the ability to focus and answer the questions with detail.
Keys to a good start:
- You find out all you can about the company – the more the better.
- Who will be part of the process? Will there be one person interviewing or will it be a group? If you find out their background, this will help during the first meeting.
- Arrive on time and dress appropriately.
- These are all good steps going into the first meeting
HR Professionals are often asked about the traits they look for in top candidates: Problem solving/initiative, communication and technical ability (do you have degree or PMP) are all very helpful.
I spoke with David Uze, an HR professional in Kitchener, and he believes a “Project Manager in matrix organizations may require strong influencing skills.” This is the ability to influence others to take certain actions even though that individual doesn’t report to the influencer.
Do you have Leadership Skills?
They may ask questions around how you hold team members accountable for deliverables.
Every meeting is important but first impressions will heighten your chances of being moved to the next stage in the process. You will need to show them strong examples of the times when you led a team and handled multiple projects simultaneously like a good leader can.
You must prep! Sitting down and looking at things – showing them you were proactive. Can you show the stakeholders how you will be able to overcome any roadblocks? How do you motivate a team? You must be able to demonstrate those learnings during the interview. So prepare by sitting down and writing a one-page synopsis around these points. Leadership starts early in life whether you’re the captain of a sports team or active member within your school. Life skills! All things that help in the interview setting.
Have you done your Homework?
Part of the process is understanding the organization and their core values. A big piece of it is understanding how you fit into the culture. Do you show any initiative within your last role or previous roles? It’s been said past behaviour predicts future behaviour. As with any leadership team who may interview you, they may think if you have done your homework you may likely do the same in your job.
I believe a big part of doing your homework shows initiative to the client. Demonstrate confidence in your ability as a leader. As we know, an inspiring leader will help the team do well and be successful for the company, so be positive and demonstrate these traits. A candidate who has done some background work will have a better chance in moving to the next step of the process or even the final stage. Good project managers are able to articulate their strengths during the interview.
Good preparation of anything must be done over time. As we grow, we develop many strengths and it is important to bring those to the interview. Work hard to prep yourself if you have challenges or weaknesses for the role. The candidate who gets chosen to move to the next level will often demonstrate their ability to learn, communicate, and show their technical skills and be a cultural fit for the organization.
The “Art” of the interview preparation must start early in life. The more you adapt, grow, and develop the traits of a good leader, the better the chances are to experience success during the interview process and landing that position with the company you have dreamed of. Excellent interview prep will help you win the race! I believe if you can show your leadership traits and have prepped yourself, you will show the interview team that you are the right person for the job!