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Executive Interviews

I find it interesting how many senior executives still develop cold feet, when it comes to the executive interview process, despite several years of experience of being on the other side of the fence! A casual conversation on the topic with a couple of friends at the club led to conversations with others, research… and, lo and behold, I have a treatise ready on the process! 

Peter Tulau, Director at AltoPartners, shares his “insider’s view” on the preparation good executive search consultants do to optimize the 60-minute interview time and get the most pertinent information from candidates during the executive search interview. As you prepare for your next executive interview, consider the crucial questions executive search consultants will ask themselves as they evaluate candidates’ suitability for the position.

The Executive Search Interview – a Search Consultant’s Perspective

At the outset, let me clarify that this post articulates a maverick approach to the executive interview follow-up! While most of you would have read articles aplenty about polite thank you notes, a frequency which is not annoying et al, my experience suggests that the approach needs to be completely revamped!

During the executive job search process, the executive interview is often the final step between you and your new role. But before you can move forward, you must master your interview and convince all parties, search firm and hiring organization, that you are the perfect fit.

But how is this done successfully at executive level? 

 

For many executives, running into age discrimination is a unfortunate reality, especially since it’s partly about health and money. How do you turn your years of experience into an advantage?

Be prepared for those inappropriate questions. There’s nothing that exudes confidence and professionalism better than being prepared for those awkward and sometimes illegal questions that come out in an interview.

Don’t…be defensive. Recruiters and hiring managers look at a defensive behavior and try to read between the lines.

The majority of interview questions will focus on experiences from your past, but at the executive level, interview questions are more than likely to go beyond that level of difficulty. By asking non-traditional interview questions, hiring executives and search consultants can find out how you will perform in the position, uncover your problem-solving skills, see how you react to unpredictable circumstances, and numerous other traits that could make you successful or unsuccessful in the role.

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of executive interviews, featuring Antonio Cassano, Cornerstone, Daniel Rezende, Dasein Executive Search, and Lisa Thompson, Pearson Partners International.

Some of the questions asked included:

If interviewing skills were offered as a course in college, it would likely not be a 100 level course or even one listed as a lecture series. One person could not stand up before a few dozen (or hundred) students and pontificate as to how one should go about interviewing; or even watch videos of previous interviews that have either won the job or gotten a harsh decline. No, interviewing skills are active and require an equally lively—even proactive—approach.

While getting ready for an interview, we tend to focus on the tough questions and the appropriate responses to these, rehearsing often in our minds the anecdotes and stories that we should tell. But before you even get the chance to deliver these answers remember, a job interview does not start with the first question. Your interviewer will probably see you before they hear you and if you turn up looking a mess or with a frown on your face, that’s definitely not the start you are hoping for.
 

Did you know that 42 percent of Americans are myopic, also known as nearsighted? This means that if you’re driving a car and there’s a vehicle in front of you, another behind you, and one on either side of you – two of you have natural vision that is deemed too lousy to operate a vehicle (without corrective lenses). You might also guess that, without aid, these two people might struggle to see a forest for its trees.

It’s difficult to have perspective when your view is myopic. The same can be true when trying to steer your career.