When Was Your Last Interview?

If you have been with the same company for years and started right after college there is a good chance that you are part of a large pool of candidates that need to develop better interviewing skills. It’s great that you have stayed with the same employer since graduating from college – your tenure will likely yield an “A” score by most potential employers when they review your resume. That’s a good thing. I get that. However, some candidates need help preparing for an interview (plain and simple) if it’s been a while since you sat in that chair. If you want to land that new job you need to step up to the plate. It’s ok! There are plenty of high-end senior executives that face the same challenge. I see and talk to them every day.

Staying in the same job for years can be good and bad. Some believe (as do I) that employers like to recruit candidates that have a wide variety of experience over those that have been with the same employer for years. Usually, they only know one way of doing things and one culture. Even if that describes your background, to stay competitive you must be able to do well in the on-site interview. Why not take some coaching advice and maintain that high score as a candidate by preparing to interview in person?

I recently met with a candidate who fit that exact same profile and his resume was phenomenal. Great education, great tenure, awesome career progression (had been promoted 4 times) but (really) lacked the necessary interviewing skills to move to the next round. The good news? He understood where he was and knew he needed to work on his interview skills. He was nervous, very fidgety (love that word) and went off point on most of the questions I asked him. I knew (and so did he) that unless he stepped up his game, his chances of getting an offer were, well – let’s just say it would likely not happen.

We scheduled multiple meetings and I spent time with him to help him prepare for the types of questions he would have to answer. I also helped him develop some relaxation skills so he could steady his nerves on the Big Day and have him some advice on how to stay on point when a question was lobbed over the net. Finally he was ready and it was a good thing – because it was Showtime! Don’t let anybody rain on your parade…

He called me (immediately) after the interview (I think it was within seconds) and was quite pleased with how well he did. It must have been a knock-out performance. Apparently, he nailed it and a few days later he was faxing the signed offer letter to me. He starts right after Labor Day and is thrilled with his New New Thing! I am too.

If your background is similar to his you might consider a few prep sessions with your search consultant. Practice makes perfect and when your big day comes (and it will soon) you get to tell your story. Be ready. You will be glad you did!

About the author


Tim Tolan

Tim Tolan is the Senior Partner of the Healthcare IT and Services Practice of Sanford Rose Associates. He has conducted searches for CEOs, presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents of business development, product development and sales. Tim is also the co-author of "The CEO’s Guide to Talent Acquisition – Finding Talent Your Competitors Overlook," available on Amazon.