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Mistakes CXO Candidates Make During Interview

While interviewing for CXO positions, the candidates need to avoid some of the common mistakes that can certainly bring them failure instead of success.

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The C-level corporate executive positions are witnessing a drastic overturn as millennials are taking the lead and securing the top positions. They aren’t just attaining big positions with bigger responsibilities, but they also get a chance to explore their true potential and showcase their strengths. While interviewing for CXO positions, the candidates need to avoid some of the common mistakes that can certainly bring them failure instead of success. Some of these mistakes are:

  • First and foremost, candidates seek jobs when they think they need one. Remember the golden rule, you don’t choose your jobs when you really need one, instead, you choose jobs which are the best for you, in terms of competencies, culture fit, future aspirations etc. Great jobs don’t wait for you, and you have to make sure you are going to the right one. And hence, it is important to view opportunities with an open mind, when you time on your hand, have a cushion of a job which you like and doing well at it. It’s important to play from a position of strength, and not from desperation. People make poor professional decisions, when they are desperately looking out.

  • Another common mistake candidates make is that they get swayed away by the brand perception of the prospective employer. I think sometimes we are too brand conscious, and we often go with the brand which is the most well- known. So many times, candidates reject great offers from brands which are relatively lesser known, in favor of companies, which may have a better brand perception, only to regret later. Remember, “All that glitters is not Gold”, and even some of the best brands (so to say) may have a bad culture, and that too, what may work for someone else may not work for you, and hence one shouldn’t generalize that if the brand is good, the job would be good with them as well, as it is important to know the right kind of culture which will suit you the most. Also, referring Jim Collins (famous author of Good to Great), how many brands that we knew of yesterday, would still feature amongst the greatest organizations today. And worse still, how many of those, will continue to exist tomorrow. And hence, it is important to look at the role, and the content of the job, understand what will bring the best out of you, and then decide for yourself, rather than be over-enthused with the brand of the prospective employer.

  • One bigger mistake that I have often seen candidates make is to go unprepared for the meeting/ interview, thinking that it is a casual interaction and they are just going for an open conversation. It stems from the fact that either they are not too keen on the job at the first place, or worse still, they want to explore more, but don’t have the time and inclination to research and find out more information. Nothing puts off a prospective employer more than an unprepared or a casual candidate. I often say to my candidates “even if you don’t think you are absolutely excited about the job in the first place, please make sure that you create the best impression and show the right intent. Let the decision to accept/ decline the job offer be with you, and not with the prospective employer, who didn’t like you enough at the first place, because of a poor interview.” Let the choice be yours, and not turn into a story of “Grapes are sour”. Most often, the job goes to the candidate, who comes the most prepared, shows the right intent, has done his homework well and asks the right questions. And not to a candidate, who may have the best CV and credentials, but didn’t invest enough time and effort to make an impression on the prospective employer.

  • Another mistake, though in continuation to the previous one, is that many times candidates feel it is not important to dress up well for an interview. And very often we hear comments like “I will wear what I feel like”, “I will dress up just like I go to work every-day”, or “Who cares how one dresses up in today’s digital age”. Now, while for certain roles, especially in technology, this may be ok at times to dress up casually, but for most other jobs, it is important to dress well, wear your best formals and make a good impression. We always tell our candidates to dress up well for an interview, and show that you want the job. “Eventually, dressing up well will never harm, but may just help you get a job.”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Agamjeet Dang

The author is Managing Partner and Practice Head of Financial Services at Executive Access Indis

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