How to get that Change Management Position
The job interview process can be a daunting experience. While general interview tips are abundant, and much has been written about preparing for a job interview, this article is an excellent guide on questions for candidates and recruiting managers.
The importance of common questions
It is still true that “Common questions will get you part of the way, so be prepared to answer them well.” (Tracey Petrie, WhiteCloud)
Common questions such as “Tell me about yourself.”, “Why do you want this job?” “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” serve as the foundation of your interview.
They offer you the opportunity to set the tone and steer the conversation in a direction that highlights your skills and experience.
It’s tempting to dismiss these questions as too basic and not prepare in advance. However, ensure you are ready to answer them confidently and adequately.
For instance, when asked to talk about yourself, focus on your professional journey, emphasising the roles, projects, or initiatives that align with the position.
If you share elements of your whole self, this can bring a clear edge to the interview and highlight your fit for the role, including the culture of the organisation.
Delving Deeper: Complex questions and how to structure your responses.
Once you’ve navigated the basic questions, be prepared for a deeper dive. Change management roles often require a multifaceted skill set, including leadership, adaptability, and problem-solving abilities.
Questions you might encounter include: “Tell about a time when…(e.g., you successfully motivated your team to complete a project ahead of schedule)”, “Can you give me an example of when…(e.g., a project that went off track and how you managed the situation)”, “Give me an example of how your previous experience will help in this position.”
These questions assess your hands-on experience and approach to real-world challenges.
So, how do you best prepare for responses to these or other questions you may be asked?
One effective way is to use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) approach.
This method helps you structure your responses in a clear and concise manner. Take a deep breath, focus on the question and start by outlining the Situation in two or three sentences. Then, describe the Task you were responsible for. Discuss the Actions you took and conclude with the Results achieved. This approach ensures that you provide a complete answer that addresses all aspects of the question.
Understanding your motivation & special Considerations for Change Management
The next layer of the interview could focus on your motivation, drive, and questions to assess your technical Change Management expertise.
Marcel Schwantes (2023) suggests the following questions to get a clear idea of how motivated you are:
- “Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult team or client. How did you stay motivated and engaged in the work despite the challenges?”
- “Describe the work environment or culture in which you thrive and feel most motivated. What specific elements of that environment contribute to your productivity and happiness?”
Given the specialised nature of change management roles, prepare for questions to assess your technical expertise and conceptual understanding of change management as a discipline:
- How do you define change management?
- Talk through some examples of your change experience (these could be positive or negative).
- Describe how you led a smooth transition of business operation through change.
- Give an example of where you saw a potential problem on the horizon.
- What Change methodology or frameworks do you use? Why?
- How do you approach developing an engagement plan/ learning needs analysis?
- What’s your experience with Agile ways of delivery?
Some great resources to prepare for these questions or understand how they could differ based on the seniority of the role are
- The Change Management Institute Change Management Body of Knowledge (CMBoK), Second Edition. for a detailed and comprehensive summary of knowledge areas such as ‘Defining Change’.
- The Change Management Institute Change Professional Competency Models (Competency Models) outlines different skills and competencies required for change roles and specialisations across three levels: Foundation, Specialist and Master.
The Changing Landscape of Interviews
It’s worth noting that organisations are shifting towards a more conversational interview style that focuses on getting to know the person.
“It’s the free-flowing conversation that differentiates you in an interview” (Eloise Seidelin – Change It Talent)
Your capacity for holding a conversation also shows your communication skills and how emotionally intelligent you are, so be prepared to ‘lean in’ to this space.
You may find it a good idea to think of your personal brand and pick the key achievements you want to highlight during an interview instead of discussing too many of your qualities, thereby risking information overload.
Tip: A branding statement typically focuses on your values, strengths, and the purpose of what and how you do what you do. For example, “I value team collaboration and have strengths in communication and leadership. I like to encourage participation and empower others with a growth mindset.”
Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of presentation. Whether your interview is in-person or via video, dressing appropriately gives you confidence, which will shine through in your body language.
Summary of how to get that Change Management Position
To ace a change management position interview requires a blend of preparation, from mastering the basics to preparing for scenario-based and specialised change management questions.
About the author
About the Contributors
Schwantes, M., (2023). 14 Interview Questions Managers Should Ask Job Candidates to Determine Motivation. Inc.Australia