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Nov 23 2015
Here’s the good news – if you’re getting interviews, your resume is doing its job – assuming you’re getting interviews for the types of positions you want. But what you do before, during, and after the interview can increase your chances of getting the offer.
Before the executive interview, do your homework!
Review your target company’s website and LinkedIn profile to learn more about the key personnel, the work they do, their clients, and potential areas where you might be an asset. See what current and former employees have to say. Check your network for connections or help learning more about the targeted company. Google your potential supervisor’s name. Check out his or her LinkedIn profile and social media accounts. And prepare a list of targeted questions to ask in the interview — three to five questions that demonstrate you’ve done your homework and that, when answered, will give you additional insight into the company.
In the executive interview, listen carefully.
Your interviewer is assessing your fit with the company, and you should be doing the same. You want to make sure that this position is a match for you, too!
At the end of the executive interview, make a closing statement.
One area where executives are caught off guard in an interview is being prepared to give a “closing statement.” Be ready to summarize (in a few minutes) why you think you’d be a good fit for the position. If possible, incorporate the additional information you’ve learned in the interview itself. Prepare the key points of this closing statement in advance and review them so that they sound natural, not canned or rehearsed. Before the interview ends, ask if any other information you can provide to help with the decision – such as a 30-60-90 day plan for what you’d do in the first three months on the job, etc.
At the end of the executive interview, always ask what the next step is.
You want to know about the next round of interviews, and when they will begin or when the hiring decision will be made. Ask if you can follow-up, and if they’d prefer phone or email. Remember to specifically express your interest in working for the company! That’s important. Many people forget to do that, leaving their potential employer to question their interest level.
Immediately after the interview, send a follow-up/thank you letter.
Send a post-interview letter to thank each person that you met. Thank you letters are always appreciated, especially if you can mail it the same day (and the hiring timeline allows sufficient time for it to be sent and received). Otherwise, an email follow up is fine. Express your appreciation for the opportunity to meet, reiterate your specific interest in both the position and the company, and confirm the next step—whether that’s information you’ve promised to provide, or what you’re expecting from the interviewer.
If you don’t hear back from the interviewer within a reasonable time, then make sure to follow up.
Just remember that hiring often takes much longer than expected. By knowing the timetable for next steps, you won’t have to second guess when to follow up. For example, you can say: “I am following up to make sure that you have everything you need from me to assist in your decision making since you mentioned that the second round of interviews would begin this week.”
Follow up with the interviewer to get feedback.
If you don’t end up getting another interview—or the job offer—try to get feedback from the interviewer—specifically, why another candidate was a better fit. You may not be able to obtain this information (executive search consultants or hiring managers may not want to answer this question), but if you do get this type of feedback, it can be helpful in your overall job search.
If you can’t reach the hiring manager, take note of who is ultimately hired, assess that person’s professional profile, and see if there was something that might indicate a key qualification (perhaps a certification, or a past employer) that might have set them apart. Sometimes you just won’t be able to tell, so move forward to the next opportunity.
For more on this topic, download a recording of our complimentary webinar: What to Expect During Your Executive Interview.