Inasmuch as many veteran Enterprise Sales Executives, executive level VP’s on up, and other candidates may believe all of this is remedial, at least one otherwise very viable candidate every few weeks fails at one of the following. Many candidates “feel” they’re prepared and in spite of my coaching and the coaching from other recruiters, for one reason or another (possibly hubris) they fail.
1) Know your resume content
Tailoring your resume to address the specific role is important, though it’s just as important to know what you’ve conveyed within the resume is really important. The interview questions will be targeted around this content and you need to own it. That means knowing it cold and having the ability to respond quickly and confidently in answering questions.
2) Research the role
Yes, a recruiter may prepare a candidate for an interview, though oftentimes candidates don’t really listen nor take copious notes. Many miss key aspects of the preparation call and this leads to key errors within the interview. Candidates need to delve deeply into preparation by asking lots of questions of the recruiter if they’re unclear about something and then conduct in depth research about the company and the role on their own.
Go to the company site and read about the solution, understand the value proposition, corporate culture, download the software if available. This is the kind of intense interview preparation that has helped my clients land jobs.
3) Research the interviewer
The recruiter may or may not coach you about the initial interviewer, however on average you’re going to meet or speak with up to six separate interviewers. Each of these individuals has a different role within the organization, though they’re gatekeepers and their opinion about you is critical. Learning as much as possible about each interviewer throughout process and finding common ground with those individuals is key and more importantly highlights your selling or management style.
4) Plan your trip or call
If you’re meeting a hiring manager in person, plan your route and set aside enough time to arrive well before the interview. This will mitigate any additional stresses associated with an interview in general terms, while at the same time allowing you time to relax and complete your final preparation. Oftentimes it’s helpful for candidates to meditate or visualize projecting a confident and relaxed demeanor.
5) Practice for the interview
From the handshake and introduction on, ensure you’re connecting with the interviewer by carefully listening and acknowledging you’re listening by reflecting back on key points (Speak their language and similar cadence). A good process includes practicing your responses to examples of your achievements, how you build a regional business plan or build and manage a sales team (if you’re interviewing for a VP or other management role), how you engage potential clients, build pipeline, and close business. In addition, ensure you bring a list of question you have for the interviewer. Lastly, always ask if the interviewer will be recommending you for the job and/or the next step in the process.
6) Always send a follow-up email and thank you
This is something I highlight with all candidates, though about every two weeks a candidate will fail to send a follow-up email. Send a message thanking the interviewer for meeting with you. If there were outstanding questions you still need answered that were discussed during the course of the interview, by all means highlight that within the follow-up email.