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Preparation Helps Set You Apart During the Job Interview

As we travel down our loss prevention career path we learn that the road to professional success requires a wide spectrum of skills and experience far beyond those that we carried when we first entered the field. But in order to secure the best loss prevention jobs to fit our skills and abilities, it also demands the capability to effectively communicate our talents to the decision makers that hold the means to propel our careers to the next level. Without question this is an essential skill set that commands our understanding and attention regardless of whether we are exploring career options within our own company or seeking opportunities beyond our current employer.

Putting your best foot forward in the interview process is a critical aspect of a successful job search. But even more importantly, it can have a long-term impact on your loss prevention career in general. These impressions can have a lasting effect on how you are perceived as a professional as well as how you approach your career development plan. Whether the information serves as a reminder or a revelation, the most important objective should be to make a strong and lasting impression when exploring new career opportunities. Let’s take a closer look at how we should approach the interview:

Use Preparation to Set Yourself Apart from Other Candidates

As part of a healthy and productive job search most organizations will identify multiple candidates in order to thoroughly and objectively explore the available candidate pool. Once the pool is identified the field is typically narrowed to a few select candidates that the company feels will best represent their specific needs and interests. Interviews are then conducted to identify and secure the best possible individual to fill the role. Multiple interviews may take place with the final candidates to validate the best match for the position.

During the interview process we want to take the steps to ensure that we set ourselves apart from any other candidates that might be interviewing, and in the process we want to make sure that we set the bar high. Make others see that you are the right choice. There are three primary areas where we can prepare for this prior to the interview:

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Perception – Having a good feel for the company and what they’re looking for in a candidate. Do the homework. Whenever possible, speak to peers and others familiar with the company. Visit the company’s corporate website. Learn the company’s mission and vision. Learn their history. Get a feel for the company culture, and how they approach their business. Learn as much as you can about the program, and how they approach the job. Speak with mentors and others that can help you better understand the position that you are looking at. Explore the match. Understand the opportunities and challenges. Learn the possibilities, and how they might help you grow as a professional. All of this helps set the tone for the interview.

Perspective – Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer: “If I were the interviewer, what kind of questions would I be asking me?” Ask yourself tough questions that go beyond the routine: Why should I pick you over someone else? What value can you bring to the position and to the organization? Look at what you’ve learned through your research, play the role of the decision maker, and force yourself to step up.

Attention to Details – The little things can make a difference. Interviewers will pay attention to the way you approach the details, and translate that information into the way that you approach the job. For example, there are various websites available that can provide detailed financial information on the organization (if publically traded), review recent company-related headlines and news, offer detailed company profiles, and present a host of other relevant business information. Use that information wisely, and make an impression.

Preparation is critical to the interview process. It helps us get the information right, but it also does much more than that. Preparation builds confidence, and that confidence can be felt throughout the interview. It comes through in the tone of our voice. It helps us to relax. It helps the conversation to flow better and more freely.

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A Winning Approach Starts with a Winning Attitude

A job interview provides a means 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 having offered us the opportunity. This is a platform, 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.

But an interview is also something more. It is a search for a match, and a chance to take our skills and abilities to another level. It is a means to build upon our career, and find a home that not only meets our needs, but helps reveal our future. Unfortunately, it is also a skill that many take for granted. It’s simply not enough to be good at what we do. We also have to be able to share that information with others, and offer the best possible picture of who we are so that we continue to move forward down a successful and rewarding loss prevention career path.

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