Q: I am going for a middle management interview with the group business development manager. We don’t really get on, mainly because I disagree with how he goes about his business – to be blunt about it, he’d sell his granny. I want the job, but am not sure how I should handle the fact that I do things differently. Any suggestions? (LR, email. )
A: We put this question to three of our career coaches, LR, and hope that you find their observations useful.
MARK MCDONALD, DUBLIN NORTH: LR, if you feel that you don’t get on with this manager, it’s quite likely that he feels the same. The best way to approach the interview is to strongly articulate how all your endeavour will be devoted to meeting the goals and objectives of the organisation.
Demonstrate your willingness to listen and consider new ideas or ways of doing business. You need to convince this manager that you will work as a collaborative team player who has the best interests of the organisation at heart. Eliminate any chance of him forming an opinion that you would pull against the team in the new role.
Success in any role is measured by the level of positive impact you have on the business. Prove to this manager that you will offer tangible value, contribute to the team, aim for the same goals and objectives and offer support to an agreed strategy.
Offering a different opinion can be a valuable contribution in any business but needs to be tempered with an assurance that you will buy in to the agreed path.
MARY O’BRIEN-KILLEEN, CLAREMORRIS: I wouldn’t focus on how another person sells – it’s your interview not theirs. You are selling yourself as a sales person.
A good answer could be “I enjoy exploring new concepts and ways of doing business and am open to learn from colleagues and management new ways that I can be a successful salesperson. I have found that when I tailor my selling techniques to suit my target audience, I can conduct a successful sale bearing in mind at all times that the product is the best product for the customer”.
In this way, you put the focus where it should be: on the role you will be carrying out. You will thus minimise the potential danger of what might be lazily termed a personality clash having an undue impact on the selection process.
LIAM HORAN, BALLINROBE: Solid advice from Mark and Mary. I would like to throw another thought into the mix: are you definitely sure you want the job?
Will you be happy in it? Ultimately, will you be forced to compromise your principles? Getting the job is one thing: being happy in it is quite another. So before you jump in and nail down the job with a cracking interview, satisfy yourself that this is actually the best career move for you.
Going for it just because a ) it is available and b ) you are at or near pole position should be balanced by a consideration of your overall enthusiasm for working alongside somebody that you don’t really ‘pull with’.
It may well be that you can do the job without coming into conflict with him, but, in the interests of solid career progression, I feel it is important to flag the above questions to you.
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