was a great candidate, at least on paper.
He had the right credentials – more than was required for the
position. He had degrees from good
schools. Most importantly, he had solid
he had moved around a bit, something that causes recruiters concern, but he had
plausible reasons – to be closer to a surviving parent who was terminally ill;
a new CEO wanted to bring in his own executive team; there was one mis-hire
along the way; and one move was for his wife – she had been promoted and the
new position was too good to pass up.
was clearly the best qualified candidate but David had a problem that he could
not overcome – he could not tell his story in an effective way. Another candidate, with good credentials and
experience, though not as extensive as David’s, was selected and David joined
the ranks of the “65 percent club”, a statistically constant group of well
qualified executives who lose out in a search because they do not interview
well – they did not communicate effectively. Here is what I mean: they were not specific in answering
relatively focused questions. When asked
about their weaknesses, they used the often tried but seldom believed answer,
“I worked too much.” They could not
provide specific examples for where they added measurable value for their
are only so many interview questions and there are books upon books of the
commonly asked questions. Yet, very few
candidates seem to know these books exist, much less bought one to be better prepared.
an effective communicator should not be confused with being a good public
speaker. Not everyone can stand in front
of 500 or 1,000 people and wow them with a Power Point presentation. However, anyone who aspires to leadership
must master the art for group meetings or one-on-one sessions.
are three common themes of a job search in today’s hypercompetitive job market.
jobs at every level. Great
candidates are eliminated – are rejected – in every job search. Rejection hurts. If you have been rejected enough – and
most candidates in today’s market have been rejected multiple times – it
can crush your spirit and affect your performance the next time you are
- Preparation. The best candidates are prepared, with a
great resume that demonstrates experience and success, and the confidence
that comes with practice – anticipating questions and preparing focused
responses then rehearsing them in front of a mirror. Preparation includes reviewing your
career history, knowing dates of tenure, names of co-workers, and information
on compensation. Submitting a list of positive, articulate references is
important as well. Many candidates
demonstrate a lack of preparation at least three to four times in the
- Communication. Candidates must be able to deliver
specific facts and examples of success, or lessons learned from failures,
with the calm confidence and focus that comes only from practice.
leadership and effective communication are intrinsically linked. There are examples of great CEOs who were
only mediocre public speakers but in small groups and one-on-one meetings, they
were the best.
preparation and effective communication are the keys to avoiding the pain and
despair of rejection.
© John Gregory Self