In a recent WSJ Article Tierney Remick, a senior client partner at Korn/Ferry International, cautioned that the biggest mistake top executives make in interviews is overemphasizing career progression and what they know, while neglecting the bottom line impact their contributions have had on organizations.
“The more senior the position, the more crucial “soft” skills are. Thus, there will be a high degree of probing throughout the evaluation process to gauge your emotional intelligence and social styles – characteristics that help distinguish a good manager from a true leader.”
Behavioral competency, a much-used interviewing technique, focuses on learning agility – tapping into lessons learned by overcoming past challenges to solve future problems.
Ms. Remick says to expect questions like these:
♦ Tell me about an initiative that you conceived and were responsible for executing. What challenges did you expect and what challenges did you encounter? How did you overcome them?
♦ What constructive criticism have you received in the past that surprised you the most?
♦ What would your best friend/children/spouse say they like most about you?
She also advises being prepared for the interview environment, which could include any of the following:
♦ Phone calls early in the search process. Sharpen your listening skills to hear what is implied. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on points, when needed.
♦ Videoconferences, often used by companies to limit travel expenditures. Pay attention to how you look and present yourself.
♦ Panel interviews, especially prevalent with academic and non-profits. Demonstrate learning agility. Find out ahead how much time you’ll have and be sure to interact at least once with each person on the panel.
♦ Off-site venues, usually used in final rounds bringing in top-level decision makers. This practice is often designed to assess your informal leadership style.
With proper preparation and insight into today’s interviewing techniques, you can leverage the value of your softer skills and generate the kind of chemistry that will position you as a good fit for the right organization.