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Candidates interviewing for executive jobs should avoid the common mistake of dialing back their interest and energy when they hear something during the site interview that suggests that, perhaps, the position is not the right fit for them. 


Pedal to the metal

Rarely do candidates ask for a clarification when they hear something that concerns them.  Instead, spontaneously, their intensity drops and their interest in the job wanes.  Then, later in the day, they discover that what they heard was inaccurate or exaggerated, they hit the interview gas pedal again, turn on the charm and reactivate their interest.  But by then it is often too late. 

Our anecdotal research, obtained from conducting numerous “post-mortem” site visit interviews with clients and candidates, indicates that this phenomenon usually occurs mid-morning, but by 2 PM the error is discovered and all is well in the candidate’s mind.  The problem is that the 5 to 10 people who were in the late morning and/or lunch interviews have picked up on the decline in the candidate’s interest.  Their feedback to HR is usually very negative.  At best the candidate slips in the ratings, but more often than not, they are eliminated. 

The candidate thinks no one on the interview team notices the fall off in their energy or decline in interest, but they almost always do.

Here is how to avoid this frequent interviewing mistake:  Keep the pedal to the metal all day.  Do not even think about slowing down.  If you hear something that is a major “flag” for you, ask for clarification.  Do not assume anything. 

You will often find the issue that created the alarm is probably not a deal killer.       

© 2012 John Gregory Self