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Let’s Talk Interviews

Let’s talk interviews! Yes, that dreaded topic where you are sitting in the hot seat, your palms are sweaty, you become tongue-tied, and unable to articulate your accomplishments. Yikes!

On Monday, I had two clients who had interviews. One was for a Director’s role at a hospital; the other for an Executive Director’s role at a nonprofit.

As one can imagine, lots of practise and preparation went into the process, both from their side and mine.

The potential Executive Director and I have been working together for months from developing the career marketing documents right through to interview coaching.

Here’s what the potential Executive Director said in a follow up email:

?“Going into the interview I felt as prepared as I could be. It was 2 hours, with 4 board members and the recruiter.

?I had practiced my presentation enough to not use any notes.

?The recruiter commented that she could see I did a lot of research.

?I felt prepared with the situation / behavioural questions, but her questions were about 5-6 sentences long. I struggled a bit with some of it, but I did my best.”

Yes, some questions can have several parts, and especially at the executive and senior levels, the interviewer(s) will go deep. That’s called ‘probing’.

When this happens, you cannot use surface-level thinking to respond.
 
When they say, “Tell me a time when….”, not only should you have your initial story ready, but you should anticipate that they might follow up with, “Tell me more…and more!”
 
??What did you do?

??What was the impact / outcome / result?

??You mentioned you were on the change management team, what was your specific role?

Here are five of several questions both clients were asked to review…just in case:

Communication Effectiveness: Give me a specific example of a time when an associate criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others?

Change Management: Give me an example of a time you had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you?

Empowerment: Give me a specific example of how you have empowered your staff to make independent decisions.

Holding People Accountable: Tell me about a time when you had to provide constructive feedback to a direct report who was not meeting expectations.

Leadership: Give me a specific example of how you have helped create an environment where differences are valued, encouraged and supported.

They were also to keep in mind potential follow up questions.

One piece of advice I offer clients is that they might not know the exact questions they will be asked, but they can anticipate them based on the job posting.

Here’s your Call to Action:

Start practising now! Don’t be caught unprepared for your next interview.