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Executive Candidate Interviews: Building Your C-Suite With Game-Changing Talent

March 16, 2017 by Amy Ancira

We all know how important the candidate experience is in wooing game-changing talent, if from nothing else than our own adventures in interviewing. Everyone, especially C-level executives, prefers an experience that is professional and well-orchestrated from start to finish. Interviewing, much like dating, is all about making a positive and memorable first impression. However, to get to a second date — and hopefully a real relationship — it is crucial that you are well-prepared when you approach great candidates, putting your best foot forward.

Designate a Point Person

Candidates need a trusted advocate who represents your company to run the process, especially at the C-level. These are, after all, busy executives with multiple competing priorities. If they have to chase you down to understand the process or to get feedback, they might just bow out instead.

Communicate a Clear Interview Process

Throughout the interview process, it is appropriate to include the key players who will be partnering with your new executive. At the C-suite and VP-level, this is often a group interview or series of interviews that includes the hiring executive and other executive-level peers with whom this person will collaborate. At the same time, this should not be a decision by committee so ensure your team understands their role in the interview process.

Consistency is Key

“Garbage in, garbage out” perfectly conveys the risks of an inconsistent process. Evaluating candidates with the same metrics is critical to making an educated decision. Structure an interview process that is consistent, regardless of the candidate. Then communicate that process to the interview team ahead of time — it is important for your team to understand the process and to exhibit a united front.

Include the same interview participants and create a list of key questions or topics for each phase of the interview process. If necessary, assign specific topics so the interviewers collect consistent information across all candidates. After each interview is complete, have the participants share the information according to your pre-determined process so that you can truly conduct an “apples to apples” comparison.

In Your Quest to Qualify, Do Not Forget to Sell

The interview process is a mix of selling and qualifying. In addition to reviewing the candidate’s key competencies, and assessing their soft skills and “culture fit”, do not forget that the candidate is sizing you up. Make sure that you sell the company and opportunity while being forthright and honest about the role. The right candidate will be excited to tackle the challenges and opportunities the role provides. Remember, if you oversell the opportunities to the wrong candidate, you may end up learning an expensive lesson!

Do Not Drag it Out!!

Something we repeatedly caution against is taking too long in the interview process. Strike a balance between having enough meetings with a candidate to make sure they are “the one” without having so many that you appear indecisive or exhaust the candidate. Again, keep in mind that these are busy executives with day jobs and other competing priorities!

With the right people in the right roles, there is no limit to what your business can achieve. Contact us if you would like more information about how to build a C-Suite with game-changing executives.

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