Many Executive Protection candidates make an extremely positive impression on paper, but lose the job race just crossing the finish line. Why?
Ask yourself if you are an interviewee who makes the mistake of thinking one of these two things:
1. That The Interview is just to reiterate what’s on the resume –OR–
2. That the interviewer is your BFF (Best Friend Forever)
Let’s take the first point: They have already read your resume, that’s why they want to meet you! They certainly may review items on the resume, but what they’re really listening for and watching is how you talk about your role in the positions you’ve held. They’re listening for inconsistencies between what you state on the resume and whether or not your skills match that statement. It’s offering more detail on the work than is on the resume. They want to sense your leadership skills, your ability to take direction, your behavior in the face of adversity. They want to know if you are serious about your work. They want to know what you take pride in.
They want to know who you are and exactly how it is that you are going to make their lives easier/better/safer and that you will be worth every penny they plan to spend on filling that important position.
Now to the second common mistake: You find yourself wanting to use your charm and intelligence to “win someone over” in the sense of a personal friendship or relationship. The interviewer plays it really casual and off-hand with you, and you respond by kicking back in your chair, thinking you’re buddies. This is not a good idea. Not at this point in the game, (and perhaps not ever, if you want to maintain your own personal life as an EPS.) Be careful you don’t get too comfortable and too loose with your comments about prior work experiences, or about yourself. You are not there to entertain–stories about a client’s escapades or your love of Vodka are inappropriate. You are there to inform the employer of what specifically you bring to the job THAT NOBODY ELSE CAN. If you get too relaxed, you will make a mistake–and if you make a mistake because you are not “on guard” or mentally sharp, it will be assumed you will make a similar mistake on the job. Which could mean the difference between life and death…or at the least, a nasty tabloid story.
So first, change your way of thinking about The Interview. In spite of the fact that a lot of people seem to think their impressive resume (or their martial arts training, or their military background) should give them a “Pass” on The Interview, it just doesn’t work that way. They are not firing squads, either. Think of it as an opportunity to show them who you are and what you’re capable of, and what you are passionate about.
(And by the way, the “interview” begins from the moment you pick up that phone to make the appointment, or write that email confirming your appointment. The way you speak to the receptionist, the assistant, the housekeeper–will all be duly noted, as will the professionalism or lack thereof, in an email.)
So, since there’s no way around The Interview, how can one succeed?
First, be prepared. Look over your own resume, so that you’re not stumbling and “umming” your way through questions about prior jobs or training. IMAGINE the interview–go through it in your mind, thinking about what questions YOU would ask someone looking at your resume and cover letter. If you’ve made a statement like “outstanding leadership skills” then be prepared with a specific example of this. Think IN ADVANCE of specific occasions when you know you were particularly effective or successful in your duties–times when you rose ABCD (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty). Think about what it is they MUST know about you before you leave the room, and follow through on sharing that information!
Prior to The Interview, do your research on the individual, company or organization for whom you will be interviewing. See what type of performance they want from employees, and what it is they’ve valued and even rewarded in the past. Ask questions of people who may be knowledgeable about the employer. If it’s corporate security, or a place you could physically visit–do so. Have a sense of what security is already in place. Learn something about the client: If they’re a singer, listen to some of their music. If they’re the CEO of a major Widget Manufacturer, learn what kind of Widgets they manufacture. Do advance work! It may not even come up, but you’d be surprised how your knowledge of their work or business could be the “tie-breaker” if it comes down to two equally qualified candidates. The one that did the advance work will have the edge.
Think of three important questions to ask the interviewer–and no, “how soon will I get a raise” is not one of them! Ask questions that bring the conversation around to address ways in which you think YOU could be of SERVICE to them. Present ways that you might be able to help bring more ease of mind to the client. Ask a little about the way they currently do things and suggest something they might like to try. Illustrate your point with a specific story about something you experienced, and how your quick thinking or intuition or preparedness saved the day.
Remember, The Interview is an opportunity for you to learn whether or not the position is something that’s a good fit for you, too. So listen carefully, take mental notes and above all, don’t forget that the purpose of The Interview is to instill confidence that you put the client first–and your personal needs, last.
BODYGUARDCAREERS.COM offers “MOCK INTERVIEW ASSESSMENTS to guide you in perfecting your interviewing skills.