Management and executive interviewing is what I do for a living. Owing a retained, executive-level staffing agency, I am constantly interviewing sales and marketing executives within nearly every industry and across all major U.S. metropolitan areas.
I have seen a few mistakes commonly made by job seekers at this level as well as some key areas for improvement that are not being worked on and that could easily be remedied with some further interview preparation and learning.
Below, you will find a list of some of common mistakes executive level interviewers make as well as some potential areas of improvement.
(1) What preparation is "Average" and what is "Effective?"
Everybody goes over the potential employer's website. However, not all sales and marketing executives read it line by line, then look up the firm's competitors as well as the company's executives via a 2 second LinkedIn search.
Everybody likes to be Googled. Show the CEO that you took the time to do so. Even if the search result comes up primarily empty and resulting statement is a quick,
"I tried to do some research via putting your name in on Google, however was unable to come up with something really concrete."
No more than a sentence is needed and you will make the CEO think about his or her marketing. The name of the game when it comes to management interviewing is to stand out with your ideas and insights. They expect cookie-cutter and black and white.
Go a tiny bit beyond these expectations.
(2) Reading about management tactics.
While interviewing for an executive, marketing or sales management position, the biggest competitive edge one can get over the competition lays hidden at the local book store or via a quick shipment online.
As previously mentioned, CEOs and other executives, upon making a decision, will greatly factor in the new ideas and the new concepts a management interviewer brought to the table.
Read about those who have been very successful in business. Books give you new, fresh ideas as well as an enormous competitive advantage over the other "Run of the mill" interviewers.
(3) Learning some basic marketing tactics.
Marketing has changed over the past few years and professionals are struggling to find the most effective ways to generate revenue via marketing. Show the potential employer that you understand the basic facets of marketing by:
(A). Writing a very good LinkedIn profile with a good picture of you wearing a suit and facing the camera.
(B). Learning Google Ad Sense, getting a basic knowledge of PPC, search engine optimization and Google Places. Believe it or not, these are quite interesting and up your value on the job market, regardless of level or industry, significantly.
(4) Writing out your interview before you speak with the CEO.
Many executive level interviewers have a lot to say, however don't always touch on the pertinent points as their elevator speech can tend to get quite screwy. Before further interviewing, take an hour and write down the following in paragraph format:
(A) Why you are interviewing for a new position. Get into the way you feel about your job, what is missing and the potential that is being wasted by your employer (if pertinent).
(B) Your detailed history at your past 2 positions. This should include accomplishments, day to day tasks, why you took the position in the first place (something that not many people touch on) and whatever else you can think of.
(C) Write down and expand on your various skill set. You may uncover skills that you forgot you had.
(D) Do not focus on the downsides you have. Everybody has downsides; everybody thinks about their downsides. This is on a consistent basis. Buck the trend.