: executive career briefcase
What Not to Do When Interviewing For a Job
Executive-level job seekers typically know their specialty areas inside and out. What they may not be as knowledgeable about is how certain interview blunders can cause them to lose out on the position of a lifetime.
No matter what your experience level, job interviews are rife with the potential for error. A common problem: Candidates become so focused on trying to convey their qualifications and suitability for a position that they sometimes neglect other equally important aspects of the interview process.
To avoid missteps at this critical stage in your job search, take note of these common but fatal mistakes:
In a Robert Half Management Resources survey of chief financial officers, 50 percent of respondents said that being arrogant was the worst mistake a candidate can make when interviewing for a management-level position. Candidates can come across as arrogant by disparaging former employers or colleagues or seeming to over-embellish accomplishments. While it's critical to demonstrate how your contributions have made a bottom-line difference in past positions, don't go overboard by including achievements that were not entirely yours. Maybe a financial restructuring plan you designed was instrumental in your former employer's turnaround, for example, but you don't have to claim all the credit for it.
Being Selectively 'On'
Don't assume that the first impression begins with the person with the hiring authority. Our research shows that 90 percent of executives consider their assistants' input when making hiring decisions, so it's important to put your best foot forward with everyone you meet during the interview process, regardless of their level.
No matter how impressive your qualifications, you still need to do your homework. Conduct research to learn about the prospective employer's financial situation, leadership, competitors and new products or initiatives. You also need to anticipate common interview questions, as well as those that might be sensitive (e.g., "What is your opinion about managed earnings?"). Be prepared to use examples to support your responses. For instance, illustrate past achievements by conveying "PSR" stories (problem, solution and results).
Not Looking the Part
Let's face it: appearance matters, especially at higher levels. Not only are you a role model for others, you may also be a public face for your organization through interactions with the media or shareholders. In addition, your appearance is a reflection of your judgment, so it should not be an afterthought. Show that you've gone the extra mile to prepare by looking your best. This means impeccable grooming and crisp-looking, up-to-date clothing. Also, avoid distractions such as excessive jewelry or fragrance, or the odor of cigarette smoke.
Organizations invest a great deal of trust and responsibility in their senior financial executives, which is why they expect a lot from them at the interview stage. By avoiding these common but career-deflating blunders, you'll demonstrate that you're deserving of your potential employer's confidence.