Internal Job Interviews

Some months back, one of my junior staff walked up to me and told me that she felt that it was time for her to move from her current position to a higher one.

One of the things I find very impressive is when individuals take this kind of initiative instead of staying in one place until they get comfortable and then complacent. I had worked with this person for some time so I was honest with her. She wasn’t ready yet, from my assessment. As we discussed this with her, I saw that she was very disappointed with my feedback. We however agreed that there were some areas she needed to work on and then we could have this discussion again and have a proper interview. She took my advise very seriously and when we interviewed later on, she did well. But how do you go about internal interviews?

First, you need to understand that simply because you have worked in that company for a while does not guarantee that when you apply for the position, you will be hired. In fact, it’s more difficult for an internal person to get the job than it is for an outsider. And that’s because the company already knows you; your weaknesses and strengths. First impressions are out of the window.

You need to take into consideration the kind of reputation you have build around the company as it could work for or against you. Talk to a few people you trust about this and be conscious of their feedback and criticism.

Research about the position you wish to interview for. Read the job description properly but go the extra mile to find out more about the position. Do not just be driven by the salary package you hope to receive when you get hired.

You may also want to discuss this with your immediate supervisor before you apply for this position. That way, you spare them the surprise and at the same time, they may advise you on how to go about it. Also note that your Supervisor may not be very happy for you especially when your promotion may threaten their job. Accept that and deal with it.

On the day of the interview, show up like it is your first time in that company. Do not assume that you will beat the external candidates simply because you are already a staff. Be open to external competition. Whatever the results are, always know that the fact that you took a chance on yourself is way better than sitting around hoping that your employer will recognise your work and promote you.

5 Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid

There are some very simple mistakes that candidates make which I believe can be avoided as they stand a chance of ruining your chances of getting hired:

#1: Reporting late to an interview and failing to communicate in advance
We all know that sometimes, life happens. Things may happen beyond your control that may lead to you reporting late. However, it’s common courtesy to call in and excuse yourself. You don’t necessarily have to give details about what’s happening but at least notify the potential employer that you’ll be late. I recently invited someone for an interview at 10am but she showed up past noon. It’s actually rude and certainly gives the potential employer a sneak peak of what to expect in future.

#2: Getting too personal during interview
This usually happens when one is asked the ‘tell me about yourself’ question. Sometimes we get so comfortable we start to share our very private information. It is one thing to try and impress an interviewer, but it’s another to lay your private life history on the table. It could be used against you. Always keep it professional.

#3: Failing to conduct a background check on the company
Conducting a background check on the company you are interviewing with prior to the interview gives the impression that you are actually interested. However, when an interviewer asks you what you know about the company and you begin to stare at the roof and stammer, it’s a sign that you are not proactive. Take time and do the due diligence before coming.

#4: Poor dresscode
We have always been told that we need to dress for the occasion. The ‘my dress my choice’ slogan unfortunately doesn’t apply in interviews. You may say that your dressing doesn’t necessarily indicate the kind of person that you are, that’s true. However, before I know the real you, I see the outside of you. Good grooming is key; brush your teeth and ensure you smell nice too. First impressions really count in interviews and you only have one chance to give the first impression. Depending on the job you are interviewing for, strive to dress the part.

#5: Badmouthing your former/current employer
In the end, we all want to impress the potential employer but in the process, we paint our former/current employer as the devil. The truth is that every company has its own issues, including this one you intend to join. If you work there long enough, you will find more than one thing that you will be unhappy about. So instead of focusing your energy on irrelevancies, market yourself to the potential employer as the best candidate in the midst of all the attendees.

Following the above does not guarantee you the job, but it increases your chances of landing one. So the next time you get invited to an interview, arrive on time or earlier, conduct a background check on where you are going, dress the part and keep the conversation professional. And do not forget your most important accessory: CONFIDENCE.

Having that difficult conversation with an employee

When you practice human resource, you will find yourself in situations where you must have an uncomfortable conversation with a staff; whether personal or work related.

It may during a separation process or just when you need to have a matter addressed that no one seems to want to confront. So how do you have have that uncomfortable conversation without making someone feel disrespected or undermined? Say, bad breath or body odour problem, without sounding mean and disrespectful?

First, you must get your intentions for that conversation right i.e. you mean to help them rather than disrespect them. Call the person aside and tell them what the issue is and find out their thoughts on the matter. Remember that you have no control over how the employee will respond to this so be prepared. If they want cry about it, give them time but don’t let tears shift your focus from the real problem. If they get defensive, you must remain firm. Some people require a little push in order to change while others require a firm hand. You can recommend reasonable solutions to the problem. You also need to give timelines with which you expect improvement.

It is very embarrassing when something personal about you is addressed in front of everyone, it would actually lower your self esteem tremendously. Some bosses however choose to do this so they can intimidate the employee, it’s not right. What is most important to know is that ignoring the problem and hoping that it will go away on its own is not the solution. Sometimes, you must take the bull by its horns.

So next time you find yourself on that tight spot, deal with it like a pro! Also note that sometimes, it’s never what you say that makes the difference but how you say it. Be gentle.