Earlier this year, the Kirby Partners team attended the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas. One morning, as our team was heading to the convention floor, we ran into one of the CIO clients for whom we’re recruiting a much-needed Director. He told us the timeline on his search had rapidly accelerated. A few quick phone calls later, we had in-person interviews lined up for that day with two of our top candidates who were attending the conference.
Despite being asked to interview at a moment’s notice, both candidates excelled and were ultimately invited to the CIO’s organization to continue the process. You never know when the opportunity to interview for your dream job may arise, so it’s important to always be prepared. While ideally you’ll have more than a few hours’ notice, make sure the next time you’re at a conference or professional networking event, you’re interview ready by doing the following:
- Perfect your “elevator pitch.” Be prepared to introduce yourself to the chief executive of your dream employer in 30 seconds or less. Can you efficiently and elegantly describe a few career highlights and where you are going? If not, practice in front of the mirror or with a friend until you can.
- Always keep your resume up-to-date and accessible. When that golden opportunity arises and you’re asked to pass along your resume, make sure to keep momentum on your side and have the document ready. Tailor the document for your dream job — highlight your specific accomplishments (quantified where possible) and leadership capabilities. Use a contemporary format and be sure to store it in the cloud so you can access it anywhere.
- Dress for the job you want. On day four of a conference, it’s tempting to slouch down during a keynote in the wrinkled leftovers from the bottom of your suitcase. Don’t get too casual, and be sure to have one interview outfit ready in case you are unexpectedly called on to make that critical first impression. In general, it’s better to be a bit over-dressed than under-dressed in professional situations.
- Review behavioral-based interview questions. Periodically review the lists of common interview questions readily available on the Internet. Think of how you might answer in a real-life interview situation using a structured format, such as the P-A-R method (i.e., defining the Problem, the Action you took, and the Result or outcome). Preparing ahead ensures that when it counts, you’ll be able to answer with a relaxed and confident delivery.
Being ready for a job ‘interview’ whenever you attend a professional event will ensure that you won’t miss what could end up being the opportunity of a lifetime.