Friday, April 8, 2011

Executives ON Interview Ready 24-7 Exec Level Interviews by Patty DeDominic

Patty De gets questions and will attempt to answer those of general interest.  We regret that
we are not able to answer individual posts, however when there are Q & A that will benefit
lots of people we will post those! 

Q: What types of simulation/work assignment/problem-solving interviews (e.g.: in-basket exercises, requests for 30-60-90-day plan for employer) are conducted at the EXECUTIVE level?

Search firms and boards of directors use a variety of methods to evaluate capabilities and listening skills of job candidates. Sometimes the screening starts in the advertisement and job posting level,

Asking for salary history and specific input as the first response.

What is their purpose? How common are they?

Candidates then are screened for initial responsiveness. Some may not put their salary however to

Pass this screen, you do need to respond in some ways and offer to provide relevant info further in the process.

Over the years when I have recruited and placed Chief Executives and other senior officers for corporations and non profits, we have asked for presentations which show how relevant accomplishments line up with the new job requirements. Also professional interviewers (recruiters and HR pros) are also skilled at asking specific questions during the interviews, looking for specific responses as opposed to generalities. For example one might be asked to share specifics of a recent strategic plan, give the list of board members or show non-proprietary reports that the exec worked on.

Is their popularity among
hiring managers increasing?

We have found many more legitimate candidates having lack of stable work history. It seems we are indeed living in a “Gig Nation” and not all qualified professionals have just one professional employer. It becomes increasingly important to have ways to screen out the large numbers of applicants, to be able to have a quality procedure to cull through those who look good on paper. Professional recruiters and search firms almost always use a structured interview process to vet the best… matter what their employment history looks like. And, in today’s world – many executives work patterns look at bit spotty. This was considered a flake in the “olden days” twenty years ago and when I started my employment services firm in 1979, but more commonly today, good people may have had a career that looks more like an ACTORS….. leading roles, and supporting roles, but successful people do have things in common and that usually includes happy fans who want to come back for more.

Q:What do executives need to know to be prepared for these interviews?

It is important to have references and credentials lined up before hand. Not necessary to submit initially but please do understand that through your informal networks and professional organizations your background is being looked at when you are unaware that it is being scrutinized. I recently told one CEO to think of herself as being on display 24/7. There is almost nothing you can say off the record that might not come back to be connected with you.

Q: At what point in the interview process are they conducted? Have any stories of executive success/failure at these types of interviews?

These “tests” go on all the time…. In the informal referral networks, in the friends of friends deciding who to refer and not to refer. References are checked in non linear ways so it is not only who you give as a reference but where else you have worked, how visible you have been and with whom you associate that impacts your reputation and your “halo” or lack thereof.

Patty DeDominic Coach to High Achievers 
Language and Culture Matter.
 I recall one time we were recruiting a CEO for a Chamber of Commerce. This candidate was extremely smart, capable and appeared qualified….however his style was to refer to his (bosses) board of directors as Lay Leaders. This may have worked in his religious professional background but was the wrong cultural message to try to send to a Chamber of Commerce.   Which is filled with servant leaders who mostly see themselves as community leaders and professional community builders – not Lay persons. This language alone, which in my opinion demonstrated that he was unaware of the culture of the industry he was interviewing for, caused the candidate to be dropped out of the process early on.

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