With 2016 just around the corner, it is imperative that candidates “plan to win” when embarking on a potential career change. A critical thinking approach and successful planning will increase the likelihood receiving a market competitive offer. If your ultimate goal is often to join a new team and organization that more closely aligns with your personal values and professional goals, then please keep reading!
Here are five tactics that will improve your position in the complicated process of interviewing. Think P.L.A.N.S.! As Sir Winston Churchill stated, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
1. Preparation is critical. This starts immediately upon securing an interview. With today’s tools of technology, it is overwhelming the amount of information that is available. Allow yourself adequate time to conduct in-depth research. Larger companies are impressed when you have reviewed recent financial results, as well as the latest press releases. For smaller companies, take the time to connect with friends or potential allies at this organization and obtain information. This is absolutely imperative and must go below the surface.
2. Leverage powerful questions. My advice to candidates is simple: impactful questions, grounded in business acumen will help you progress further in the interview process. The synthesis of your intellect, experience, company knowledge and understanding of the role can often catapult you to the top of the candidate mountain.
3. Activate a proper follow-up plan. Interview follow-up in 2015 is different than fifteen years ago during my initial days in recruiting. Today, consistency is key without crossing the line of appropriateness. Ask the hiring manager about their decision making timeline and how to best remain in contact. A balanced mix of email and phone calls will work. When you call, try hiring managers early and late in the day. Make three attempts to call; on final attempt, it is acceptable to leave a voice mail.
Another game-changing tool: a 30-60-90 day plan. I am surprised by how few candidates take the time to analyze and compile a short-term plan to accelerate their integration into their new team.
4. Negotiate even the best offer. It is so exciting to receive a job offer from a company. Even if it is ALL that you ask for, you should always ask for something. Hiring companies expect you to negotiate. Potential levers include: sign-on bonus, six month review, company paid insurance premiums, 12 month retention bonus and/or extra week of vacation.
5. Stay in contact during transition period. This is an often-overlooked item. You will be in touch with Human Resources and your future manager. However, it is a great idea to remain in contact with others that you met during the selection process. Be gracious for their support and convey your excitement about joining their company. The more advocates you have in the beginning, the faster you will reach an appropriate comfort level in the company.
Best wishes if you are considering new career opportunities in the future. May your PLANS be successful!
– Martin Plumlee is the Founder, Owner and Chief Recruiting Officer for Plumlee & Associates (www.plumleeassociates.com), a Career Partners International Firm based in Nashville & Franklin TN. For over 17 years, he has been a successful Sales Manager, Executive Recruiter and Leadership Consultant. Outside of business, he loves to serve as a husband, father, community leader and Citizen-Soldier. Martin currently serves in the Army Reserves in Nashville TN; he has served with distinction on both Active Duty and in the Reserves for over 13 years. He is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and earned an MBA in International Business from Tennessee Technological University. Please connect with him on LinkedIn and follow his firm on Twitter (@PlumleeAssoc).