Plotting the path to your dream role is an exciting step.
It may be an internal promotion, or a position within another organisation – whatever it is, preparation for your move upwards is essential.
SEEK data shows 28 per cent of Australians set a career goal at the beginning of 2021 and as we approach the end of 2021, an impressive 63 per cent of these people say they are likely to achieve those goals.
It’s an admirable achievement considering the upheavals of the pandemic and shows just how determined many working Australians are ready to push on with their career trajectories.
Here, we look at ways to prepare yourself for promotion opportunities or high-pressure interviews.
Gather evidence of your performance
In high stakes interviews, employers are trying to delve beyond the basics. They want to know about your success stories, particularly those with significant outcomes or those achieved in complex situations.
You are being assessed on your record and your potential, said Kirsty Ferguson, interview coach and founder of Interview Chix, so this means you need to communicate what results you can achieve, how you will impact the business and team, and how you will be a good cultural fit.
To do this, she recommends gathering factual evidence.
“You need to be able to quantify all of your achievements and outcomes,” she said.
“It is much more impactful if you can say ‘I increased new business developed by 15 per cent over a 12-month period’ or ‘I implemented a new staff retention policy that reduced staff turnover by 30 per cent in 3 months’.
“Results are key to demonstrating you can actually do what you say you can do.”
Be clear about how you operate
If employers understand how you approach your work, they will understand how diligent you are and have a better idea of how you will suit the role.
“How you work is just as important as what you do,” Ferguson said.
“It shows the way you communicate, problem solve and innovate. A great way to do that is to have two project case studies ready to outline. Make them short and to the point.
“Outline your ‘how’ statement, a bit like a company mission or values statement. That says, ‘This is me and this is how I go about what I do’.”
Research is key
Possibly the most important way to prepare is to research everything about the role you are aiming for.
This includes the organisation, its business values, the interview team, key personnel, the products and services and the market.
An understanding of how the business, and the people behind it, works gives you a head start in how you shape your responses to interview questions.
Get comfortable with talking about yourself
It’s not easy talking about your strengths and it’s equally as awkward talking about your weaknesses.
But these both need to be brought up in the interview, Ferguson said.
“Everyone feels like a muppet when they spout off how wonderful they are, I know I do,” she said.
“Instead try to move away from using opinions or giving feelings about yourself to more evidence-based statements. It feels weird to say ‘I’m smart and quicker learner’, but it doesn’t feel weird to say ‘I received an ATAR of 79 and learnt to code in three weeks’.
“And don’t be afraid of discussing weaknesses. After all, they simply highlight your level of self-knowledge.”
Visit SEEK Career Advice for insights and tips to help you advance your career journey.