Executive Interview Case Study1

Interview Case Study: I Had a Bad Executive Interview

In 2010, I applied for a position with a well-known company with a solid reputation. I was called for an interview the following week and asked which of three time slots would be most convenient for me. I chose one and it was confirmed. I arrived at the scheduled meeting time to find that no one was there to conduct the interview. The receptionist told me that I must have been mistaken about the day, and when I pulled out my phone to show her the follow up email, she unapologetically said that they gave me wrong information. I was sent home that day with the assurance that I would receive a call to set up another interview. After a week I hadn’t heard back, so I left four messages, one a day, until someone finally returned my call. Another interview was scheduled, and again when I arrived, the hiring manager wasn’t there and I was told to go home. When they called a third time, I let them know that I was no longer interested in applying for the position. This seemed to wake them up, and they convinced me to come in the next day. The hiring manager did see me, and I was offered the job.

~John

How to Handle a Bad Executive Interview

In the case above, Justin was given the runaround for a few weeks before he could secure an interview. The company seemed unorganized when it came to communicating with potential employees and following through on proposed meetings. While there are many ways that an executive interview can go wrong, here are some tips for getting through ones like the example presented above:

  • Keep correspondence of the interview day and time; this will prevent any blame being placed on you in the event of a misunderstanding.

  • Be proactive about calling the company if they haven’t responded to you within a reasonable time frame.

  • Always keep options open until you are offered a position.

  • Sometimes letting the company know that you are moving on will force them into positive action.

    It can be tricky to navigate the fine line between being proactive and accommodating when a company doesn’t do its part in making the hiring process run smoothly. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you’ll want to do what you can to assert yourself, knowing that your time is valuable. While you don’t want to be unnecessarily aggressive or demanding, showing the company that you’re not just waiting for them to contact you when they feel like it can sometimes help them move things forward.

    Other Types of Bad Executive Interviews

    The example that Justin experienced is just way an executive interview can go badly. The company may also not agree on what they’re looking for in a potential candidate. They may be hiring for a position that doesn’t exist yet. You could be interviewing for a position that takes months from the start of the process to the finish; for that example, you’ll have to determine how important the possibility is in conjunction with your own life at the time. For instance, if you are employed during the process, having an extended application process may not have a negative impact on your life. However, if you’re job-hunting without already having something in place, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to hold out for the possibility of something that may take awhile to secure.

    The more high profile the job or company is, the more complex the hiring process may be. You may have to meet with multiple managers at various times or take a series of tests. The company may start out with an abundance of candidates before they narrow it down to just a handful. However, throughout the whole process, a good company will make you aware of any appointments, projected deadlines and people to contact with questions.

    If a company doesn’t follow standard procedure during an executive interview, you may find yourself having to take the reigns in order to make sure things progress in a timely manner. While you don’t want to be overly aggressive, don’t be afraid to check in with your contact person to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Checking in, and being firm about your own expectations when need be, can show the company both your genuine interest in the job and your own sense of self-worth.

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