“Be Prepared. The Scout motto means that you are always ready to do what is necessary to help others. It also means you are ready, willing, and able to do what is necessary in any situation that comes along. You are also being prepared to live a full and worthwhile life, being a physically fit, honorable citizen of strong character.”
Used by millions of scouts since 1907. How many everyday people follow the same mantra?
Preparation. Arguably, one of the biggest keys to success in business. Whether it’s an important meeting with investors, a big sales presentation or an internal team meeting, preparation is critical. Some even overprepare – ready for the worst – answers to unexpected questions, back up slides or even a change of clothes, pending any unforeseen coffee disasters. Who wouldn’t take those measures? Sure, they may be pretty typical for executive levels, but maybe not so much for the inexperienced new grads and junior level job seekers.
As a smart employer, you don’t only value this behavior in a candidate, you expect it. It’s pretty clear in an interview – actually before it even starts –if your potential employee is prepared. You can tell by the time of their arrival (ask whoever opened the door or buzzed them in), to the questions they ask, what they can tell YOU about your company and even by how they are dressed. Being unprepared is an early indicator of the underperformance yet to come. You would think in a competitive job market, any potential employee that makes it to a live stage interview is going to make preparations and take precautions. Not always the case, so be sure to look for the signs.
But what happens when the best prepared top performers get thrown curve balls — and even the most primed are at a loss? There are going to be times when unforeseen circumstances come up – a snowstorm, a sick child, dead car battery. Can’t fault someone for that, right? Sure, we tend to be forgiving, because after all, we are all just people and no one is immune to certain situations. Good candidates deserve a second chance when plans change through no fault of their own.
But what about those superstars that snap into action, show quick thinking and come up with a back-up plan when things get bumpy? They don’t want a second chance. They seize the first one!
Take a great example of something we saw recently between one of our clients and a candidate. A live interview was scheduled for Friday, April 19th in Boston. Anyone in the local area will quickly recall a day of fear, anticipation and lockdown. A situation of such magnitude would most certainly be a reasonable excuse for any candidate to miss an interview. Instead however, the candidate in this situation got creative and made it happen.
Taking the initiative to suggest and schedule a Skype interview with the potential employer was her plan. Fortunate to be living in this technological age, the candidate utilized the resources that were available to make that interview happen. This is the type of ingenuity that everyone would love to see in all employees. It was a pretty simple solution, but how many would have actually taken the proactive steps to make it happen? Going over and above is a competitive edge these days. Not only did the candidate have the chance to do an interview, she took a challenging situation and was able to more powerfully communicate how much she wanted this job. A true display of passion! Although the interview could have been rescheduled fairly easily, but because of the interviewee’s enthusiasm and resourcefulness, there was no need. The candidate is now happily settled into her new role at a great company!
When life throws a curve ball, you can either dodge it or choose to adapt and respond. Situations like this one can really bring out the true character of a job seeker. Of course everyone wants the best people to join their companies. When a candidate goes above and beyond even when odds are against them, it’s can be an early indicator of high performance.