Just Start Doing the Job.

If there is any secret in being the one who wins the job — it’s to do start doing the job before you are in it.

There are lots of people looking for work right now.

And there are also many people trying to position themselves for a promotion.

If you want to have the advantage here are some ideas:

Do your first month on the job before you get to the interview

Learn everything you can about the company, the people, the competition, the customers and the market.

Go into your interview with your deliverables:

  • An assessment of the current state
  • Challenges and opportunities
  • A desired outcome description of the future state
  • A straw-man list of strategic priorities
  • Key initiatives to fill the gap
  • A list of problems to be solved
  • A list of key communications necessary to support the work

This give you three advantages:

1. It is a great way to demonstrate that you get the requirements and you are able to work at the right level.  You are showing you are not going to get lost in the detail, and will focus on those elements of the role that will have the biggest impact on the business.

2. It shows them how you think and work. It’s hard to know people in an interview.  Your work will give them a way to really understand how you will perform.  This will make them comfortable about what they will “get” if the get you.  That gives you a leg up.

3. You will have already added value to their business. If you do this well, they will see you in the job, doing the job, and will  get addicted to the work you are doing.  So they will want you to keep doing it!

Work this into the interview and conversation

During the interview, present your work, ask questions about it and get feedback. It’s pretty easy to work it in.  Sure you have to answer their questions, but not for the whole time.

When someone asks, “How would you handle this?” or “What have you done?” you can say,

Well actually, I did an assessment of the business and I found two key areas that I believe need significant attention. Could I ask you some questions about that to see if I got this right?…”

Bring in External Feedback

Make sure to bring in an external, customer-experience, outside voice into your evaluation of the business.

There are many good reasons for this:

  • It makes you appear really smart — you come across like an industry expert.
  • Having information about customer, competitor, analyst and media reactions to the business shows that you know where the real drivers for the business are.
  • Having a broad set of external inputs shows that you have a strong personal network that you can use for other things.
  • They are not hearing this from most of the other internal candidates who are coming to the interview with an internal view.
  • They are not hearing this from all of the external candidates either – it’s a real chance to stand out.

Caution: It’s not about what you have done

The underlying thought in all of this is that you don’t want to be talking about what you have done as much as how you will DO the job you are interviewing for.

Doing the job ahead of time ensures that you will come across as someone who is not resting on their past laurels, and that your past skills will translate to be effective in what the new job requires.