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JOB INTERVIEW: Do Not ‘Bob and Weave’ Around Accountability

Posted February 19th, 2020 | Author: John G. Self
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For more than 25 years as an executive recruiter I interviewed hundreds of senior executives. Most had impressive records of accomplishment based on their resumes but only a small few talked about how their experience and track record of success would benefit the prospective employer.

Even today, when I think about those years of executive interviews, it is hard for me to wrap my hands around this dissonance – talented leaders who were reluctant to step up and explain to a board or hiring authority how they would make a meaningful difference for the organization.  Frequently, the most qualified candidates would be left at the altar because they could not, or would not, make that connection and offer that commitment. 

I will never forget the words of a frustrated CEO candidate who failed to bridge that canyon and was not selected:

“It was all in my resume, the board should have figured it out.”  

I will never forget the words of a frustrated CEO candidate who failed to bridge that canyon and was not selected: “It was all in my resume, the board should have figured it out.”  

I think that executive’s statement should serve as a clarion call to anyone who is entering today’s topsy turvy job market. The ability to effectively communicate is a critical function of leadership.  If you cannot show a governing board or hiring authority how you can add value – if you fail to communicate your unique important asset during the various interviews, do not be surprised, or do not complain, when you are not selected.  It’s on you.

One reason I have shifted roles from traveling around the globe interviewing executives to working as a career transition advisor, is to help otherwise talented leaders avoid the trap of not appreciating how important it is to make this connection and close the deal, and to share with clients the tricks of the trade and strategies for avoiding the potholes that are part and parcel of today’s job search practice.  

Over the years, when I challenged executives who failed to “close the deal” in an interview, asking why they held back, their answer almost always, directly or indirectly, was connected to accountability.  They were concerned they might be held accountable for something they said in an interview.

You do not want to be cocky or arrogant, but you do not want to hold back and find yourself on the sideline while others are in the game making a contribution.  

You do not want to be cocky or arrogant, but you do not want to hold back and find yourself on the sideline while others are in the game making a contribution.  

Uplifting confidence is always a welcome aspect of a job interview.  Trust me on that one.


Self, Smith to Teach Interviewing Skills Course at ACHE Congress In Chicago

Join Chrishonda Smith, CCDP, SHRM of OhioHealth and John G Self, an author, blogger and executive career transition coach, for a dynamic MASTER COURSE on interviewing skills at the American College Healthcare Congress in Chicago, March 23- 26.  This is one of the more popular and highly rated sessions of the Congress The session is at 2:15 PM on Wednesday, March 25.  

© 2020 John Gregory Self

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