Even as an executive-level professional, with a great deal of experience in developing your business and personal skills, it’s still possible to be susceptible to making mistakes in an important job interview.
Keeping your confidence levels high is imperative in ensuring you portray your best self and secure the role. But it doesn’t pay to be overly confident. Interviewers want to know you are genuinely interested and have put some effort into your interview preparation.
As a recruitment specialist, I’ve seen many candidates fail at interview. From Senior Buyers and Procurement Category Manager to Logistics Executives and Heads of Planning. They often fall into the same trap when attending an interview and consequently lose out on a potentially great job offer.
So, in this article, I’d like to look at the most often-made mistakes at executive level interview, and how you can avoid them.
1. Assuming the Job Is Yours
I advise my candidates that no matter how good a fit they are for the role in terms of qualifications and experience, it's wise to avoid assuming that the job is yours if you want it. In every interview you attend, you should still sell yourself and prove to the interviewer you are the ideal candidate for the role.
I have witnessed executives who have become so used to being in a senior position it leads them to the assumption that they can move smoothly into another senior role without much effort, based on their experience alone.
This can come across as arrogant and will certainly not do you any favours in an interview situation.
Showing passion for the work you do, alongside honesty, empathy and excellent communication are the attributes that will secure the role, rather than relying on seniority alone.
2. Disregard for Good Impressions
Following on from the previous point, I know it’s hard to believe, but some executives don’t get the memo when it comes to the dress code for the interview.
Even if you currently in a company that encourages casual wear in the office, an interview is one of those occasions where you still must dress for the occasion.
So, stay on the safe side and choose business attire for your interview. And don’t forget to polish your shoes or clean your bag ! I know it sounds crazy, but it’s still something that stands out to interviewers the minute you walk into a room.
It creates an excellent first impression and shows you care about the role for which you are applying.
3. Not Up to Date with the Market
If it's been a while since an executive last applied for a post, they can become out of touch with the current recruitment marketplace.
A simple way to keep abreast of current issues and trends is to ask your specialist recruiter. For instance; what are employers looking for in terms of skill set in the supply chain and logistics or manufacturing and engineering market?
How important is culture fit to this and other organisations? What are their values? How are they linked to functional and other processes to encourage the right behaviours in the organisation?
A specialist recruiter’s insider knowledge is invaluable in providing an insight into the job market and positioning you as a great candidate.
4. Inhibiting Your Career Progression
Many executives are guilty of this one. The comfort zone – where it's easy, once you’ve achieved a job role with seniority, to sit back and relax.
But by not continually developing your learning and training skills, you could be in danger of falling behind.
Staying on track in a senior role means investing in lifelong learning to ensure you continually improve your employability. This way if you want to change positions, you’re ready and equipped with the necessary skills.
5. Not Preparing Well
Preparation is one area that everyone attending an interview needs to ensure they have nailed. I’ve seen candidates who produced a remarkably good CV fall down at interview due to lack of preparation.
So, research the position thoroughly, making sure you have credible examples, especially to support both your technical skills and managerial competencies, that demonstrate how specifically you meet the criteria for the role.
Additionally, research the company you are hoping to work for; their mission, vision, and senior executives. Then check out their competition, so you know where your company of choice is placed in the overall market, what their challenges are, and what their competitors are doing.
Finally, review the company website, their LinkedIn company page, online newsletters and relevant industry journals. This level of detailed prep will then provide useful information that you can weave into your interview questions.
6. Interrogating the Interviewer
Talking of interview questions, it’s wise to avoid questioning the interviewer too much.
Many executives have often been so used to being in charge that it comes naturally to be the one doing the questioning - and while of course, you will have questions to ask about the role, keep them until you are asked by the interviewer what questions you have.
Interrogating them as if they were your employee will create a negative impression, so remember -treat your interview as a business conversation between equals and listen carefully before speaking.
If you are an executive who is thinking about a change of role, or you have an interview coming up, we can help. With many years’ experience placing executive level candidates in their ideal job role, we can help create a smooth transition.
So, if you would like to work with an experienced recruiting partner, call us on 01905 381320 or get in contact here.
About Martin Veasey Talent Solutions
At Martin Veasey, we have been working with blue-chip and SME businesses for over 35 years, both in the UK and around the world.
We are an independent consultancy company with highly qualified staff, including many degrees and Masters educated consultants, with memberships of professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the British Psychological Society.
We have unique expertise in hiring for senior roles in Board & Senior, Supply Chain & Logistics, Purchasing & Procurement, Manufacturing & Engineering, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Sales, Human Resources, plus many more.
If you are looking to work with a highly accomplished recruiting partner, you can call us on 01905 381320 or get in contact today.