Good, is not good enough…
Have you ever heard someone say: “I can’t believe they didn't give me the job, I have all the experience they want, I could have done it standing on my head”? Working in recruitment for the last ten years, I've heard this statement an awful lot…
What a lot of job seekers fail to realise is that even though they have the experience to do the job, it’s never a guarantee of getting a job offer or even the chance of progressing to a second interview. The fact you can do the job, isn't really that useful…
I believe that on average a company will interview at least six candidates for a single vacancy and that in pretty much every instance, all of the candidates interviewed, will be able to do the job. A company makes the decision to interview a candidate because they can see the person has the experience required on paper. The company then chooses to interview six candidates to find the ‘best person’ to do the job, not just someone that can do it.
Going to an interview and simply demonstrating to the company you can do the job, is not going to get you a job offer. You need to prove, in just 60 minutes why you’re the best person to do the job, better than anyone else they might interview that same day or week.
So, are your sure you’re the best person for the job and what steps are you taking to ensure this will always be the case?
One of the ways you can ensure you’re the best person for the job is by ensuring you know more about industry ‘best practice’ than anyone else the company is likely to interview.
Most companies want to hire an internal comms professional that understands best practice, some that can talk about the internal comms industry, not just about their own experience. When asked about best practice, nine out of ten internal comms professionals will talk about the experience from their current or last role. Surely talking about your own role is not going to demonstrate best practice unless you can compare and contrast your personal experience to the broader comms market. Even then to compare and contrast yourself against the market, you really need to understand what the market looks like.
When was the last time you read a book on Communications, Social Media, Employee Engagement? When was the last time you attended an industry conference and listened to the thoughts, ideas and experience of others? When was the last time you picked up an industry magazine or engaged in a best practice conversation on LinkedIn?
I interviewed an internal comms professional a few weeks ago and during our conversation he told me about the three books he had read since the start of the year, all of which covered the latest thinking on communications, engagement, social media in the work place etc. He then went on to tell me about a recent industry event he had attended and gave me some insight into the thinking of some other high profile comms leaders. I suddenly realised that this guy was telling me about industry best practice, he was talking about the communications market generally and best practice approaches employed in other companies outside of his own. I instantly realised that in a room full of candidates that ‘can do the job’ this guy would stand out above the rest. He can also do the job, but I’ve no doubt he had more knowledge, enthusiasm and theory to offer than any other candidate. Amongst a group of six interviewees I reckon this candidate would have been the ‘best’.
Sometimes to be the best at what you do, you need to look beyond your own experience, you need to look outside of your own organisation and see what other people are doing. You need to benchmark yourself against industry best practice and then take action to fill in the personal development gaps where they exist.
I sometimes challenge the internal comms job seekers I meet with a simple question: “Tell me about three market leading companies (not including any previous employers) and their approach to internal communications”. The ability to answer this question with interesting, relevant and succinct responses is often the mark of a good versus great candidate.
If you’re not sure you can talk about best practice outside of your own employer, then it might be time for you to look outside of your own organisation, research, review and embrace the thinking of others and the market more broadly. There are a number of ways in which you can benchmark yourself or indeed your team against others, however VMAGROUP has also developed a specific industry event to help you do just this. VMA IC Showcase is a unique peer to peer internal communications event for organisations across the UK.
Open to Internal Communications teams of all shapes and sizes, now in its fifth year, the IC Showcase gives your whole team the opportunity to share your proudest accomplishments with your peers in Internal Communications. Present your biggest success story from the last 12 months, swap tips with other IC professionals and return to the office with fresh, new ideas that could work for you.
The event gives you the opportunity to network with other internal communications professionals over drinks and dinner, and at the end of the night we celebrate the best presentations with our unique, peer-voted awards.
There’s no better way to get a view of best practice in the internal communications sector. It’s like reading a book on best practice, in just one day!
by Andrew Harvey, Head of Internal Communications Practice
If you are interested in finding out about how we can help you develop your career in internal communications, please call one of our experienced consultants today: Sara Tehrani for permanent opportunities, or Andy Macleod for interim opportunities. Read more about our internal communications practice here.