Countless elements go into building a successful loss prevention career. Each of us evolves through a series of self-discoveries as the many features that make up who we are unfold through clear foresight and occasionally blind ambition as we forge the pieces into the image of leadership and experience that we share with the professional world around us.
As our journey progresses, we learn the depths of our skills and abilities, developing our talents through experience and education, and balancing the lessons of ego and humility. Through perseverance and hard work, we create opportunities along the way, highlighting the attributes and the potential that compels others to take notice. This is the objective of job interview preparation.
Job Interview Preparation for LP Professionals
Traditionally, a job interview is viewed as a process in which a potential employee is evaluated by an employer for prospective employment in their company, organization or firm. However, the interview can also be used for evaluating internal candidates as well. The process is generally designed to determine whether the candidate possesses the necessary and/or desired attributes for the role.
More importantly, the job interview should serve to help identify the best possible candidate for a position. The job interview is widely considered a principal factor when making hiring decisions. Talents, abilities, experience, expertise, leadership—all of these essential attributes can be misunderstood, underestimated, or even overlooked altogether if we fail to send essential messages during the course of the job interview. In order to secure the best loss prevention jobs that will build exceptional loss prevention careers, it’s critical that we undergo an appropriate amount of job interview preparation and learn how to present ourselves.
The interview provides a forum to open a window into who we are—as a professional, as a leader, as a partner, and as a person. We are given precious minutes to summarize our value and our character, and make a positive and lasting impression on those who offered us the opportunity to spotlight our loss prevention career. Once again, this is a forum and not a guarantee that others will see us for who we are. It is up to us to open the window and share the picture.
A job interview is also a search for a match. Both company and candidate look to balance their contributions with the offerings of the other. In a traditional interview, the interviewer will ask questions focused on whether the candidate has the skills, knowledge, and expertise necessary to do the job. In today’s competitive market, however, interviews typically go much further. Additional questions are asked regarding character and other attributes that can help better determine whether a candidate fits the organization’s needs and company culture.
By the same respect, candidates have also learned to ask better and more revealing questions about the company, the position, those that they will be working with and the prospects that will be available to them moving forward. It is a dynamic but delicate balance of questions and answers that helps lead to better-informed decisions for everyone involved. All of this makes the job interview process a complicated quest that demands focused effort to ensure the best results.
Unfortunately, all of this can be especially challenging for the loss prevention professional. Generally speaking, loss prevention professionals are not very good interviewers. This is a difficult concept for LP people to accept (“We’re professional interviewers! How can this possibly be the case?”) and an issue that is often minimized or overlooked during our job interview preparation. Often, we think that we’re much better than the results tell us, and are surprised when the feedback that we receive is less than stellar. However, when we are willing to step back and look at the subject objectively, it’s not so difficult to see where this can present potential concern.
By the nature of who we are and what we do, we’re suspicious. We’re guarded. We’re careful with what we say and how we say things. We have a natural tendency to try to take control of a conversation. Many of our professional interactions take place in adversarial situations. Our experience and training lead us to instinctively look for signs that something is wrong or out of the ordinary during a conversation. For example, during the job interview, the person that we’re interviewing with isn’t under the same stress that we’re used to seeing during an interview with a dishonest employee; and the verbal and nonverbal cues that we look for might not necessarily reveal the same message in this type of setting. These tendencies become embedded in our habits, which are typically pointed out to us by our spouses, friends, and family on a regular basis.
This isn’t necessarily a flaw that we have to bury or overcome, but rather a tendency that we have to recognize as we perform our job interview preparation. These skills are important and valued as part of our professional objectives. It is a loss prevention career talent that sets us apart and makes us good at what we do. But while there is clear merit to this aspect of our abilities, they’re not competencies that should dominate every aspect of our personal or professional conduct. There is a self-awareness that we must be willing to accept and manage. Especially as we look to climb the ladder of success there must be depth to our capabilities, and a maturity that showcases our appeal as a respected, respectful and valued business partner.
What do loss prevention people do? This has become a much more complicated question as we take on new and more sophisticated responsibilities and our role continues to evolve. Show the interviewer other sides of who you are as well. We have to be able to communicate our enthusiasm, our drive, our flexibility, and our willingness to work with others to solve problems and find the best solutions. All of this has to be accomplished in a manner that is honest, sincere, and credible.
The job interview is a process that we progress through, not simply an event that we experience. It is a career skill that we have to develop in order to be proficient, and what’s most important is how the interviewer feels about us as a candidate at the end of the conversation, and not necessarily how we feel about ourselves at the conclusion of the job interview that will matter.
What we have to recognize is that this is an opportunity to market ourselves—to show who we are, what we’ve done, and what we’re capable of accomplishing. This requires that we step into every interview situation with the right attitude and a winning approach. First steps are often the most important. When it comes to building your loss prevention career, always make sure that you start out on the right foot. Make the most of it, and knock their socks off.
For more information on loss prevention careers, visit www.lpjobs.com.
This article was originally published in 2015 and was updated April 25, 2017.