Is the Interview Started? – Leading Self
The point at which you make a decision to attempt to advance your position in your current job can come at many points. It may have been when you were first considering joining an organization in the first place. It may have been after you started (at the bottom) and having put in some time and energy, believe this is a place to stay. Or, you may have been there a considerable time, and an otherwise unexpected opportunity got your juices flowing with “I have a shot at that..”
So, as you prepare for the interview to come, what is the proper frame of reference? Well, if your organization pays attention, you have been “interviewing” ever since you first set foot in their door. Don’t expect their timeline to match yours. You may have just started thinking about this leadership opportunity a few months ago, but to think your entire career isn’t on the table is just plain silly. As one long-serving manager once told me, “once you get to a certain level, it’s not your positives that are on display – its your baggage”.
The longer you have been there, the more of a “body of work” you may have to explain. You may not think it’s right, but consider every behavior and decision you have made in the past in the context of the position you are seeking because, rest assured, the decision makers are.
If there are some things you regret, or decisions you might have done differently if you had been “in charge”, now is the time to acknowledge them, and provide some examples about how you might have handled them differently. Above all, consider if you learned from them in such a way as to influence future decisions. If you think bringing up a prior bad decision is not a good idea in a promotion interview, consider that the panel probably knows about it, will discuss it, and without context from you, will consider it in their decision making process.
One clear path to travel, especially if you seek a leadership position, is to acknowledge the difference between being an individual and being responsible for a team and how that might change your dynamic a bit. Making a bad call as a team member is not a disqualifier. However, failing to understand the difference between team member and team leader will not play well.