Interviewing Tips & Tricks

Provided by Alyssa Gelbard, Founder & President, Point Road Group

If you’re considering a job change in the future or in the thick of a job search, here are some reminders on how to keep your search quiet and best present yourself throughout the interviewing process.
Schedule Interviews Carefully
When scheduling an interview, aside from trying to lock in a time that’s most inconspicuous (and convenient) for you, consider the amount of time you block off in your calendar. Whether a phone, video or in-person interview, leave more time than you think you’ll need. Allowing 1.25 hours for an hour-long interview isn’t enough. The last thing you want to worry about during an interview is getting back to the office, making your next meeting, picking up kids from school etc.

Several factors can cause interviews to take longer than planned, including starting late or getting delayed in the middle (due to an urgent matter taking priority for the interviewer, for instance). The meeting may also run long because you may have a great rapport with the interviewer or, the interview goes so well that the hiring manager wants to introduce you to others. The bottom line is that you should plan ahead to avoid the stress of wrapping up hastily or coming up with an excuse on the fly because you return to the office later than expected.
Communicate with Recruiters & Hiring Managers
Whether working with an executive search firm, recruiter, hiring manager or HR contact from a potential employer, it’s imperative to respond in a timely fashion to all emails and calls. If they want to schedule an interview but you’re about to go into a meeting with the board or they request additional information that you can’t provide immediately, still reply quickly to acknowledge the request and provide a time by which you’ll respond more thoroughly.

After interviews, send a personalized thank you email within 24 hours to every person you met with. If you’re working with a recruiter, thank them for setting up the interview too.

Be mindful of follow-up habits after an interview. Even if the meeting well really well, following up too much and too soon on the status of your candidacy can be off putting. If the interviewer told you to expect a decision within three weeks, don’t follow up a week later asking if they’ve made their choice.
It’s ok to communicate your interest and stay top of mind if you haven’t heard from the potential employer after the time expectations they set have passed. However, if the recruiter says you’ll hear from her in about a week with next steps, and a week goes by, don’t circumvent her and contact the company directly to try to obtain an answer – this can negatively impact your candidacy.
Apply What You Know from the “Other Side of the Desk”
As a senior financial executive, you’ve been on the other side of the desk and hired team members. Use your knowledge and experience of what impresses you when you hire staff and apply the best practices yourself. While you may have an excellent LinkedIn profile or resume that helped get you in the door, you still need to show that you’ve done your homework, bring value to the role and are a great fit (and know why).
You can tell when candidates have read up on the interviewer and potential employer – and when they’re faking it. In the same manner, research carefully and thoroughly. Take time to understand the in’s and out’s and most pressing matters that are bound to be top of mind for the people you interview with. Having solid knowledge of the company is beneficial as you connect your experience and expertise to the company’s needs.
Don’t overlook the basics either. When planning your interview outfit get an understanding of the corporate culture and dress code. Your interview outfit should be an elevated reflection of your personal style but also the position level and work environment.
If interviewing by phone or video, check your connection quality and background environment carefully – avoid unnecessary distractions. This can simultaneously throw you off and potentially annoy the interviewer as well. By video and in-person, pay attention to body language and eye contact. Again, thinking about people you’ve interviewed over the years, you know what has the best and worst impact.
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