Executive Interview Process

More crucial perhaps than the in-person interview for the global executive, is the telephone interview. As the initial executive interview, it is the door-opener to follow-on conversations with a company. Frequently, cost savings and necessity demand that subsequent interviews with multiple representatives from the company will be conducted by phone - flying an executive thousands of miles for a day or two of interviews is not realistic and unnecessary with the current available technology.

Your outstanding resume and extensive networking have paid off, and you have a day of meetings scheduled to discuss a key executive role at a target company. You’re mostly thrilled about the opportunity, except…For the last 15 years, you were promoted from within, or you “fell into” a job. To say your executive interview skills are rusty is, well, a bit of an understatement. When you think about it, you cannot really remember the last time you interviewed!

Not surprisingly, a few things have changed in recent years that affect how you should approach an interview. Here are some core areas to focus on as you go forward.

Good question. I am often asked this question by my Executive clients and the uncertainty makes sense. Often, an Executive Level candidate’s career had progressed through the ranks and when they find themselves either in a position where they would like to transition to another organization, or need to seek a new opportunity, they may not have had an actual executive interview in more than 20 years. The last time they interviewed, they may not have been at an Executive Level, and so this type of interview might be a first.
Just the Basics

Lack of interest or enthusiasm during the executive interview process is on the top 10 list of reasons for candidate rejection. Executives don’t always realize it or understand just how important it is to follow up after an interview, beginning with a thank you letter to each interviewer.
Following up can help you turn an executive interview into an offer by knocking out your competition, reassuring the hiring manager of your capabilities, or turning a losing situation into a winning one. Consider the following pointers.

Companies typically don’t intend to discriminate, but if they have doubts, they may use age as the factor that screens you out. Your job as the candidate is to leave the impression that there is no one more qualified for the job than you. Whether you are young and have risen quickly in your career, or you’re older with a long record of success, here are some strategies you can use during your next executive job search.

Your Executive Resume or CV

Once you’ve completed your unconventional interview, it’s extremely important to follow-up with the interviewer, otherwise you’ll be quickly forgotten. In a competitive job market, you should never overlook something as simple as sending a thank you note or picking up the phone to thank the person who gave you a chance to interview. It may seem trivial, but nonetheless it’s essential. Here’s what you should do after your unconventional interview wraps up:

When you get that call from an executive recruiter or hiring manager that they would like to set up a pre-screening phone interview, pat yourself on the back. You have made it to the first step. But, don’t think this a relaxed and laid-back conversation. This is a very important phone call because the interviewer will be developing a profile on you. You will be judged on your attitude, personality, ability to communicate effectively, and how well you might fit into the company culture. If the call is Skyped, the person may also be evaluating your professional image and body language.

When it comes to acing your unconventional interview, you should know two things: 1) Confidence is key and 2) Being prepared is a crucial step toward interview success. Now that you know how to prepare for your interview, what can you do to ace it with ease?
For starters, sit by your phone/computer at least ten minutes prior to your scheduled unconventional interview. Answer the phone/video conference with your name and a smile. Never answer the phone by simply saying, “Hey” or “Hi.” Try saying something like this: “Good morning. This is (INSERT NAME).” Sounding professional is just as important as looking professional.
From sweaty palms to racing hearts, the rapid-fire questions and glaring eye contact from human resources is enough to intimidate any job seeker during an in-person interview. What if you removed the face-to-face interaction and replaced it with an unconventional approach? Would your preparation change? Would your anxiety diminish?

Most job seekers struggle during interviews because their answers are not clear, concise, or memorable. Interview responses frequently veer off course, are too long, or contain extraneous information that dilutes the candidate’s original message.