Two sales executive candidates walked into an interview with the CEO at one of my clients. The first candidate was in the prime of her career, boasted strong credentials and had a dynamic presence. The second was in the latter 1/4 of his career, had lesser accomplishments (proportionally to his tenure in the workforce) and was a focused but not captivating individual. Both were very motivated to get the position.
You may be surprised to hear that the second candidate got the job offer - by a wide margin.
The second candidate came to the CEO with many prepared questions. He was familiar with the industry, and leveraged that knowledge to dig into the nuances of the role. The CEO saw him as a stabilizing figure in a rather young, six-person sales organization. The dialogue was like a conversation among peers, almost like the second candidate already had the job! When the CEO suggested that he "cold call" his partner to see if the candidate could "get an interview" with him, the candidate jumped at the chance - and landed a 30 minute conversation!
The first candidate did not grasp some of the nuances of the role. She had not done enough research about the company, and was unable to effectively answer questions that the CEO considered "basic." When questioned about this, she replied that "I didn't understand what the CEO was looking for." Her interview with the CEO lasted 20 minutes while the business owner spent nearly 1 hour with candidate two.
Candidate one lost any chance at the job because she was not sufficiently prepared. Today, information is available like never before for job candidates researching a potential employer. Websites, social media profiles, blogs, news articles, press releases, etc. are a treasure trove of content at people's fingertips. It never ceases to amaze me how many people do not use it.
So if you are a job seeker looking for a prosperous career, use preparation to give you an edge on others and nail that job interviews.
Have stories to share about people you have interviewed who were prepared or not prepared? Or your own job search experiences? I'd love to hear from you!