The JMJ Phillip Retained Search Division has compiled a list of the top executive career search mistakes of 2018. While this list only demonstrates a few crucial points, these are often the easiest to fix if a candidate takes the time to properly prepare for an interview. Statistics illustrate if a candidate is not receiving one offer for every three interviews, he/she should take a step back and consider what went wrong by doing a self-assessment and seeking the help of a professional interview or career coach.
Top Executive Career Search Mistakes of 2018
1. Acting like you are the smartest person in the room—The worst mistake topping the 2018 list is the “let me show you how smart I am” executive. When interviewing with prospective companies, take into consideration that if you made it to the interview, the company already thinks highly of you. While showing a certain level of confidence is important, remember not to become “the smartest guy in the room.” When the executive team or board hiring committee is evaluating someone, they are seeking extremely intelligent professionals whom others will want to work with. No one likes a know-it-all.
2. Bait and Switch Salary Requirements—People like to do business with those they can trust. There have been many instances this year where JMJ Phillip executive recruiters have experienced a candidate telling the consultant a desired salary amount, but after an interview asking for a considerable amount more. While this is understandable when the job requirements or situations change, it is not an acceptable reason when a candidate just feels they can get a substantially larger compensation package. This usually happens pre-offer and at some point during the first or second interview, once the company has displayed great interest in onboarding the candidate. Once the candidate finds out the company is really interested, all of a sudden they are asking for 20%-30% more than they originally stated. JMJ Phillip has found no cases in 2018 where this ended up in a successful hire.
3. Being demanding and problematic—Most companies understand an executive’s busy schedule. However, things go south when a company goes out of its way to accommodate a busy executive, and the candidate cancels at the last minute or constantly reschedules. Because the job market is so competitive, companies have become very picky about whom they decide to pursue. The lack of willingness to make an interview happen can often be taken as reluctance to make a career change, or worse, a lack of interest in their company.
4. Lying and stretching the truth—You can bet a company is going to do exhaustive background checks, income verification, education verification, and job tenure verification. Do not say you have a degree if you are four credits away from graduating. Also, be precise with your job dates. Stretching job dates to fill voids is easily caught, and blunders like these make hiring managers question your character and integrity.
5. Lack of energy and enthusiasm—If you have the title of Director or above, people see you as a leader. As a leader, the last thing the hiring committee wants to see is lethargy. Markets continue to become more and more competitive, leaving no time for a low-energy executive. Lack of energy and excitement is also taken as a sign of someone not being interested in a position or company, which is extremely visceral to the executive hiring committee. Many executives are being brought in as change agents, and along with change, the company needs someone with energy, enthusiasm, and motivation.
Read over your resume to ensure everything is correct and truthful, and then think back over your previous interviews. How did you answer the questions and how might you have been perceived? If you’re unsure how you’re doing in interviews or if your resume sells you in a positive light, consider professional assistance. The investment will be well worth it.