Job Interview Don’ts: Expert Advice from Marketing Executive Recruiters




  • — January 21, 2019

    Today’s job market is in favor of candidates where employers are in fierce competition for top talent. Marketers who have cutting-edge skills, in particular, are in the position for promising opportunities in 2019.

    If you’re interviewing for a senior-level or executive role, you’re likely well-acquainted with the interview and hiring process. Being at this position also means that there is a high level of expectations from both marketing executive recruiters and employers during the process.

    However, as recruiters, we know interviewing can be unsettling and nerve-racking for candidates, no matter their level of seniority or experience. Frankly, even the most experienced executive and C-level job seekers can get value from the resources of marketing headhunters and career advice to present their best selves for any job opportunity.

    Questions You Should Ask when Interviewing

    Grab the Spotlight as the Top Candidate in Your Next Marketing Executive Interview

    Getting through to the in-person interview process is a major victory, and something candidates should proactively prepare for rather than just seeing it as a mere “invitation” to the company. Just as much as you prepare your list of “to-dos” for your interview, there are several things to not do during the process. Prepare yourself for success by avoiding making these costly mistakes throughout your journey.

    Failing to acknowledge your audience

    Job Interview Don’ts: Expert Advice from Marketing Executive Recruiters

    If you’re not happy about a specific part of the job, discussing it at the wrong stage or with the wrong person isn’t an effective way to solve it.

    For instance, discussing the title of the job with potential peers you’re interviewing with is an unproductive solution and can be problematic. Many things like job title and salary are outside of the scope of control of employees that are at the same level as the job you’re interviewing for.

    There’s nothing to gain from speaking about things to people who can’t impact change. If you have concerns about the role, make sure you are presenting them to the right audience so you avoid coming off as careless. More importantly, don’t let things like the label of the position overrule your interest in the actual job.

    Strategically evaluating who you’re interviewing with throughout each part of the process and directing matters toward the people who can effectively make changes will make you appear more credible and professional.

    Complaining about current or past employers

    Talking negatively or too critical about a current or past employer doesn’t put any power in your position for negotiation. And it certainly doesn’t help you get the job. Instead, your professionalism comes off as questionable to the interviewer.

    As a marketing talent agency, we know it’s unrealistic to only have positive experiences with employers. It’s not only what you share, but how you share it. Figuring out how to share your experiences without your emotions tied into it is a smart approach to sharing less-than-pleasant circumstances.

    Rather than shedding a negative light on a boss or company, figure out how to twist a negative experience into something positive. Be reasonably honest (without going overboard) and respectful. A great tactic is to adjust the focus onto the aspects of the job you genuinely enjoyed. Demonstrating that you’re able to remain positive amidst a negative situation will impress the interviewer.

    Being impractical about compensation

    Any recruiter can attest that we’re in a candidate-driven market. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should base your value outside of things in the market that are relevant. For instance, your skills, experience and services have value but certain elements like your cost of living or the specific location you choose to live don’t have as much weight.

    Of course, an employer that’s located in a city with a high cost of living should appropriately adjust salaries. But when candidates over-estimate their desired salary unreasonably, it’s a major red flag for employers and interviewers.

    It’s important to be confident in your skills and know your value but don’t let that deter your logic when negotiating salary. Long-term career growth and development is much more important and valuable than a short-term payoff.

    Being insufficiently prepared

    Job Interview Don’ts: Expert Advice from Marketing Executive Recruiters

    Interviewers are quick to recognize candidates that aren’t adequately prepared to answer critical questions during the interview. As marketing executive recruiters, we even see this problem in senior-level marketing executive searches. Even the most seasoned candidates fail to answer questions successfully because they don’t have a methodical way of thinking through their response. An obvious lack of preparation cripples your chance at a great opportunity.

    It’s one thing to demonstrate that you know the ins and outs about a company, but walking the interviewer through your success and providing quantifiable information in a direct and concise way is critical. At the executive level, you should have plenty of successful campaigns and projects you’re able to present. You must also be able to effectively demonstrate and share results without being long-winded. Your interviewer wants to know how you’ve successfully driven ROI and success in quantifiable context.

    For instance, you want to share the top campaigns in the last year you led in executing and implementing. How do you walk the interviewer through the process and results to provide meaningful, contextual data? You must approach this element of the interview in a way that proves impact on the bottom-line and drove true value.

    Candidates that ramble and stumble through every question leave a less-than-satisfying impression. Have a methodology in place to help you thoroughly answer questions pointing to your expertise. Anticipate questions around your accomplishments you may be asked and practice your answers thoroughly. Elaborate on any times where you’ve reduced costs, improved processes or drove profitability for an organization. Focusing on the KPIs and goals you were tasked with meeting for specific campaigns will better prepare you to leave behind the fluff and get to the points that actually matter.

    Preparing your successes and being able to share them in ways that are relevant to the interviewer shows that you are strategic and you came well-prepared.

    Ignoring your long-term career goals

    Know the job, company, and why you want it. If you’re pursuing an executive-level marketing role, you should certainly be aware of what you want out of the next step in your career. Thus, any opportunity you seek should be in line with that.

    In addition to doing your due diligence in researching the company, also research yourself. Does this job fit into your personal and professional goals, and how? Do your values align with the company you’re interviewing with? What skills can you develop in this position, and how will they help you evolve in the long run?

    Knowing the answers to these questions will help you understand what you like about the job and prevent you from seeking one you’re not genuinely interested in.

    Parting Words

    The interview process is a two-way street, meaning it’s your chance to determine if a job is a right fit for you just as much as the interviewee is gauging if you’re the best candidate for the position. In short, you are a critical, deciding factor in the hiring journey. So, if you want a job, make sure to adequately and present your best self.

    As marketing headhunters, we realize that no matter how much you prepare, there are factors that are out of your control. However, doing your best to avoid these top “don’ts” throughout your interviewing journey will improve your chances at landing a new opportunity. Some errors are unavoidable, but the candidates that fully equip themselves for anything that comes there way are able to recover and make a lasting impression.

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    Author: Bob Van Rossum

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