Rogers that: How to win the interview process and land the job

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 10.26.06 PMFrom the outside in, it might seem as though CEOs simply inherit their next role or get hand-picked without contest, but as this article on Rogers’ search for a new Chief Executive Officer goes to prove – no matter what your level, you’ve still got to #standapart and show some moxy.

It’s not often we get a bird’s eye view into the recruitment and interview process for a c-suite position. But this brilliant article from the Globe and Mail reveals it all – from the courting process to the interview clincher.

The article recounts the journey of Guy Laurence, a British Telecom Executive, to the top-job at Rogers Communications Inc. It’s a fascinating read – separate hotels, secret Saturday meetings – and it goes on to list some of the ways Laurence differentiated himself and eventually landed the role.

And, you know what? He really knocked it out of the park.

What won Laurence the job was not his slaved over resume or his exhaustive LinkedIn profile. And it was not his track record (at least, not entirely). Those just got him in the door. In the end, it was all about finding a way to show a bit of who he was and, ultimately, asking for the job.

Here’s a recount of just how Guy Laurence, past CEO of UK’s Vodafone and one of three short-listed candidates selected by Rogers, clinched the win for the CEO title:

1) He did his research:

“He had done his homework, going so far as to conduct mystery shopping excursions to some Rogers retail stores and those of its rivals. He even took part in discussions on online blogs so he could ask participants about products and services.”

At a certain level, if you’re still banking on a precursory scan of a company’s website, then you’re not putting enough skin in the game. You should be examining the organizations’ fit with your own objectives and strengths as closely as they’re scrutinizing you.

2) He demonstrated skill and potential:

“He told committee members that while he liked the layout of the stores and the attentiveness of the staff, there was an opportunity to further differentiate the Rogers brand.”

With all that research in your pocket, plot out one or two moves you’d make, if given the opportunity, to benefit the company and boost their bottom-line. As this LinkedIn contributor confides: Remember how I see it: I have to pay your salary starting day one, so I’d love to see an immediate return on that investment starting day one.

3) He left his poker face at home

“[The] interview stretched over hours. When it was about to wrap up, Mr. Laurence closed his binder, looked across the table and remarked that “I would really like to have this job because it’s such a great challenge.

That comment – and the enthusiasm of the moment – stayed with the search committee.”

I might never forget the closing of that infamous binder. Will you? Like Mr. Lawrence, you’ve probably hit a lot of career milestones. Don’t go into an interview ad hoc and try to remember them all. Be prepared. Make a checklist. Stock a binder. And (if it’s there), don’t forget to show your enthusiasm.

The lesson? Every interview has a winnable moment. A moment when – presuming you’ve been (1) selected for an interview, and (2) pre-screened for most of the desired skills – all you really need to do is demonstrate your moxy and #standapart.

That’s what really differentiated Laurence as leader of the pack – a mix of generous interest, irrefutable skill and the guts to make the ask.

You, like the executive ranks at Rogers, will be well advised to take a few crib notes from this incoming CEO (who carries a reputation for aggressive cost cuts and culture change). With Laurence now at the helm, they may soon be in the interview seat themselves.