I recently helped a friend with some coaching the night before her interview for a HR Business Partner role with small management responsibilities, although she felt that she lacked experience in both.

The key notion when interviewing for a permanent role is to understand that in order to both be attracted to the role and attractive to the organisation, there needs to be room to grow, especially if you are going to stay for more than 12 months.

The business partner model requires someone who can influence and bring a commercial approach. Likewise, if the organisation has truly embraced and understands the BP model this should become clear in the interview from the questions you are asked. A commercial candidate wishing to build their career will not come into a permanent role with all of the experience needed, but they will come with the capability and the competence to do the role in the future. So what do you do as a candidate to demonstrate future capability? I believe that just because someone has experience of managing a team (as an example), it doesn’t automatically mean they are good at it. It’s the way you communicate, motivate, lead and coach that is important. And just because you haven’t had direct reports on paper doesn’t mean you aren’t a great manager. My friend had managed a difficult character informally on a project and I suggested she use those experiences to demonstrate capability.

The same can be said for the Business Partner skills. She needed to demonstrate times where she has influenced, acted as an expert and added value. For example, you may have listed ‘reduced recruitment spend’ as a key achievement on your cv but you need to take it a few steps further – what was the effect on retention, engagement, quality? You have to demonstrate both short and long term business impact.

My friend got the job literally on the spot….no word of a lie.

Angela Franks is a Director based in our London office and it’s her birthday today!