If someone is looking to change jobs, one of the biggest mistakes they make is not communicating their experience well enough in an interview, particularly if they are changing roles or moving into another field. You may have all the skills needed for the job – but you won’t stand a chance if you fail to provide concrete examples of this.
All too often, our feedback from interviews shows that applicants assume their prospective employer has read and digested all the details in their CV, but time constraints rarely allow this. If you describe a successful project in your application, there is no harm in talking about it again at interview. In fact, you will reinforce you have the right transferrable skills and experience required for the role. This is why we advise candidates to use the word ‘for example’ as much as possible, as it helps you avoid sounding vague.
Ultimately, employers want to know what their return on investment will be, so stress how you have added value to previous businesses at every opportunity. Alongside this, I’ve identified five key traits that hiring managers are currently looking for when recruiting.
1. Know the product or service
In a fast-paced sector like this, there is little time to train managers in the specifics of a product or service. You will need to hit the ground running, showing you grasp the threats and opportunities the business faces and what steps you’d take to ensure it remains commercially competitive. During the interview, set yourself apart from other applicants by demonstrating a sound knowledge of the company, its products and/or services and its position in the market.
2. Strong lateral thinking
Procurement and supply chain roles are becoming more complex, which means you’ll need to offer a solutions-based answer to operational problems. If you have a knack – or even better, a tried-and-tested methodology – for understanding, predicting and mitigating these issues, chances are you will excel in your new role, and the prospective employer will appreciate this.
3. Exceptional diplomacy
Employers place great value on your ability to gain and retain people’s trust and positively influence their stakeholders. During your interview, think of times when you have achieved the right outcome as a result of the strong relationships you have built and instances where you have had to balance different or conflicting demands.
4. People management
While seniority does not necessarily mean you’ll head up a team, most businesses now see securing and retaining top talent as a strategic priority. As a result, it’s likely you’ll influence employee retention at some level, so displaying strong people management skills is vital, as is a proven ability to work with HR departments to manage talent effectively.
5. Why you love what you do!
Last, but by no means least, always be clear about what attracts you to the role. I believe that people buy from passionate people – if you are more passionate about what you do and why you want the job than the next person, you have a great chance of landing the job. For example, do you enjoy working to deadlines or solving problems? Often, verbalising your motivation for applying for a particular role is the best way to showcase the traits listed above – after all, if you love what you do, people will notice, gravitate towards your positivity and see you as an inspirational role-model.
Richard Haaker is associate director at recruitment consultancy Macildowie.