By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
It stands to reason that when you want to understand how to climb the career ladder in any Big4 firm, you’ll take advice from the experts who understand what it takes to start and/or further your development.
Both a rich history and ability to be forward thinking are the attributes in firms that have made names for themselves in helping employers become stronger by assisting in developing and managing their people and processes. St Louis’ AAIM Employers’ Association has 1,600 member organizations in that area and Illinois and they’ve been leading in the HR and management consulting and professional training and development arenas since 1898.
The VP of Training and Organization Development for the association, Marvis Meyers, recently talked with Big4.com about the best practices to navigate through one of the more challenging aspects for the professional moving in an upward trajectory, the interview.
“The very first thing to do is your homework,” she said. “It used to be that you needed to read newspapers and such, but now most organizations have pretty robust online presences.”
It’s a prerequisite to know the mission and vision as well as the values of the organization
you’ll be interviewing for. She says most of the companies with websites use them to promote their brand and are often quite transparent about the kind of culture and environment they foster—all great background information for an interviewee. Meyers also shares some excellent advice centering around the job description.
“Look at that not so much for the technical aspects but for the behavioral attributes you think might be most important for the organization,” she says citing the example of a position in project management and a client who surmised she didn’t have the strong organizational skills needed after scrutinizing the job description the proper way.
A successful interview is about more than having the right answers, according to Meyers. It’s also about having the right questions and knowing when to ask them.
“It’s very disappointing when you ask a candidate if they have any questions and they say they don’t know. That tells the interviewer one of two things—either they’ve been talking too much or the candidate hasn’t thought enough about the job to be able to ask questions.”
It’s best to stay away from questions about pay, vacation time and other similar details that can be brought up at a later date and focus on meaningful queries about the outcomes and challenges in the role you’re interviewing for.
She also says it’s a good idea to dress to suit the generation of the people who will be interviewing you.
“If you need to, go to the company a day earlier and watch people walk out to see how they dress and always dress more formally than you think you should because people make immediate judgments whether they want to or not.”