80% of the time the people who land the job, never mind get the interview, usually have a relationship somewhere, somehow with the person/people they will be working with should they be successful. Reason is although teams hire for skill, increasingly important is for recruiters is the “fit” aka culture. All parties involved in the process need to be sure that you will fit into the culture, help make money, and stay.
Below are 7 important things to consider which will help you on your journey to landing what the job:
1. What are you bringing to the table?
• Before you even submit your application for the role, sit down and think about how your addition to this team will add value. What skills or ideas do you have that you truly believe will set you apart and make the hiring manager extend the offer letter to you and not to the other applicants vying for this role.
• When you know your USP (Unique Selling Point) not only do you come across as a highly skilled candidate, but you also develop bargaining power because you know your worth. You don’t need to know who you are up against to develop your USP, just know your personal strengths that make you lucrative candidate and focus on marketing those.
2. What’s in your skills toolkit?
What can you do differently/more effectively than other candidates? This flows well from my first point. If you don’t know what you’re good at, how will the hiring manager know?
3. Culture fit
So important. No one wants to be dealing with “situations”. You also should be interviewing your hiring manager to find out whether the environment they’re offering is one which will allow you to flourish and be your best self. No use in rushing to get into a space that will dim your light or that doesn’t allow you to show up as your full and whole self. Trust me.
Here are some questions to consider if you want to evaluate whether your potential work environment will be conducive for you. Feel free to add to this list depending on your own needs and other priorities:
a) Philosophy on work/ life balance
Helps you figure out if the environment is all-consuming or if healthy boundaries exist.
I find this to be a great test on whether the environment is autonomous or “micro- managey”.
c) Ask about the dress code
If you are a jeans and sneakers person and you suddenly need to be wearing suits and stilettos, can you do this everyday or is there something inside that screams “this isn’t me!”? Listen to your inner voice.
d) Ask about the organisational values and the hiring manager’s opinion on them
This will help you ascertain whether the team is in sync with the organisational culture and strategy or if there may be a disconnect.
e) Ask how diverse the team is
This can help understand how open and geared the leadership in the area is for transformation and the enablement of marginalized groups.
f) Find out how old those in leadership roles are/ how long they have been in the role as well as the most junior people
This way you can figure out whether as a junior you’ll need to wait for someone to die/ retire before you move up in the ranks. It will also give you a sense around how quickly juniors in the team progress and the organisation’s approach to succession planning and employee development.
4. Are you generally a hard worker (do you have a great work ethic)?
• Nothing in life is achieved through pure talent. I mean even Beyoncé didn’t wake up one day as Beyoncé. Sure, she’s talented, but that is only half of what is required. Sis grinds and there is no denying it.
• Having a great work ethic is not just good for your image, it also feels good to know you’ve made a difference and added value. It might feel great skimping on hours and taking shortcuts, but don’t forget that they may not say it, but people are always watching you.
5. Can they take a chance on you?
• Are you a promising candidate? You can measure this by analysing then expressing how you being added into the equation of the team will result in some sort of value add. Talk numbers if you can, but also have someone/people who can vouch for you and position you as a lucrative resource. This is why it’s critical to be strategic about the people you list as your references.
6. Are you familiar?
• Remember, they can’t take a chance on you if they don’t know you/about you. In South Africa we call this “udume ngani?” loosely translated means “what are you known for?” and it summates everything, from your reputation to your work ethic.
7. Do you have grit and a plan?
• Corporate in general is not for the faint hearted, so you must go in it with a game- plan, knowing exactly what you plan to achieve from the experience and using that as your guide.
Remember, landing the job is just one thing. But leaving a legacy and a lasting impact is what counts. Your work and your impact on others are what speak for you in every room your name comes up when you are not present, and you have to guard that with your life because that’s all you have. So, there you have it! A few things to keep in mind to help position yourself and give you the competitive edge.
Tshego is a vibrant young professional with a passion for purpose driven work and continuous improvement. She draws most of her experiences from working in corporate and is also a digital creator having created 2 blogs and a YouTube channel with thousands of followers on her platforms.
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