5 tips to prepare for a interview when you’re not even job-hunting

The job market is tough and there will always be stiff competition for good jobs. If you’re not looking for a move at the moment, you might think that you’d be wasting your time spending any energy preparing for a future job interview, but you’d be wrong.

I’ve seen many strong candidates panic at the thought of a job interview just a few days away. They wonder how they’ll be able to prepare while still juggling their current job and family/home commitments.

To avoid last-minute panicking and to give yourself the best start the next time you’re the candidate, here are my top five tips.

1. Keep a record of your achievements

There’s nothing worse than wanting to answer an interview question with a killer statistic about a project you ran and not being able to remember the number. Have a place where you record your achievements as they happen – a note from a director thanking you for your hard work, the figures your last project achieved, the way you smashed all targets (and by how much). Then you’ll easily have numbers and examples to hand the next time you’re preparing for that interview

2. Take control of your personal development

Personal development is not the responsibility of your HR department, it’s yours. If your company isn’t offering to send you on the courses you want to do, explore other options. (And if you aren’t sure what personal development you need, ask your boss or HR rep if you can chat about it). Could you buy a book to read in your own time or take an evening course? Is there someone you could job shadow to learn more about a different role? Seek formal and informal feedback on your performance and see whether there’s anything you can act on. Then keep a record of what you’ve done so you can talk about it at interview.

3. Recruit a mentor

Many senior managers mentor enthusiastic employees keen to learn more about the business and further their career. A mentor within your organisation might be able to create opportunities for you and will most certainly be a good source of advice and wisdom. If you can’t find a mentor within your current company look more broadly at who may perform the role for you. Who do you know that you respect and who you think would challenge you to help you grow and develop? Many people would be flattered to be approached as a mentor, so don’t be worried about asking.

4. Use LinkedIn

I’ve heard many clients say they don’t do anything on LinkedIn because they don’t want their boss to think they’re looking for another job. But anyone who uses LinkedIn regularly will know that its value is much more than simply a jobs board. To use it well, connect with people you meet at work – suppliers, clients and colleagues – and post useful updates with news from your industry that people will find interesting. Joining groups and taking part in discussions is also a great way to raise your profile and prove your expertise. That way you’re building a strong presence and when future employers check out your profile (and they will) they will get a good impression.

5. Work your network

LinkedIn is like networking from your desk, but you should be consciously taking control of your career and building a profile and a presence for yourself in person, both inside and outside your current company. At networking events you get chance to hone the way you describe yourself and your skills, as well as make potentially valuable connections. Another way to build your network is to put yourself forward for projects at work. You’ll get to meet a new set of people who could prove invaluable in your next career move.

You might not be looking for your next career move just yet, but if you want help when you do – or know someone who does – feel free to give me a call for a free chemistry session.

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