It’s common advice that the key to nailing an interview for a job you want is preparation. But what about an interview for a job you don’t necessarily want?
“Even if you’re not interested -- prepare,” says Bert Hensley, Morgan Samuels’ Chairman and CEO. After all, there may be
an upcoming opening that is more appealing – either at this company or at another client company through the executive search firm. “If you get good feedback from a client, then search firms will think of you again. You have an audience beyond who’s in the room.”
Executive search firms place candidates in two broad categories: active and passive. Active candidates are actively seeking new employment, while passive candidates are generally happy in their current roles.
“Passive candidates sometimes don’t prepare like they should. There’s a perception among executives that they benefit from being coy or playing hard to get in the interview process,” Mr. Hensley says. “In my experience, that’s not the case.”
“Go in prepared, or you’re better off not doing it,” he advises.
How to Prepare:
- Know Your Numbers. Be able to quantify your own performance, but also understand the performance of the company. If the company is public, read their annual reports online.
- Know Their Story, and Yours. Be able to describe your career as a narrative and a journey. How did you get where you are? What have you learned? Also know the hiring company’s story. Know its history and read through recent press releases to learn recent developments. Research the professional background of the interviewer.
- Know the Industry. Research what trends are impacting the company, both positively and negatively.
- Ask Pointed Questions. Why is the position available? What are their expectations? What roadblocks would you face? Are there opportunities for growth for someone in this position? Both parties need to understand whether the placement is a good fit or it won’t last long, if you do decide you want it.
Remember: interviewing for a job is always great practice, even if you’re not sure you’re interested in it. Look at it as an opportunity to shake the rust off your interviewing skills. That way, when you get to interview for your dream job, you’re ready to nail it.