After months of rumour, a major supermarket chain finally published the launch of its graduate management program in Ireland. Five regional management roles were to be created and Emma, currently working in a temporary retail position after graduating with an honours degree in Food Science, was determined to get the job.
Her previous experience of mastering the job application process had not gone well. Overly confident and ill-prepared she had fallen at the first interview. Now, frustrated after a year in a mundane role, she was determined to kick start her career. She mailed off a convincing cover letter and a concise and up-to-date CV.
A week later she punched the air as she received an invitation to interview. Fired up, with a date in the diary, her preparation for the interview began in earnest.
She pored over the job specification and pulled out all the pertinent points. She searched the web for news coverage of the stores in Ireland. She read about the rise of the discount players and the story of how they laid down the gauntlet to the existing players in the Irish retail market.
She made a couple of calls to stores outside of her region and got a feeling for their unique customer service approach. She jumped in her car and visited neighbouring competing stores to immerse herself in the industry.
Then she devoted the weekend to preparing the anecdotes that demonstrated how she was the only person for the job, pulling examples of her leadership experience and potential, of how she used her initiative in challenging contexts, and of how her experience from working in retail would stand to her. She made connections about how about her energy and drive would fit with the company’s own culture – and how the team spirit she helps to create on her local hockey team could also be transferred to good effect. She ensured her arguments were measurable and pithy. When she got in front of the interview panel she was articulate, motivated and prepared. Naturally, they loved her.
Guess who got the job!?