Interviewing a white collar


Interviewing a senior/Top management professional


Day before yesterday only we scheduled an interview of a top level management professional in some dot com company. The person was to be interviewed by the VP (Vice president). The hassle and mess we face when we schedule interviews or take interviews of middle level or lower level management professionals, we never face them while conducting interviews for top management level professionals.  Well, my experiences have not been so sweet so far but yes most of them were very good. The candidate who was interviewed that day is an online marketing professional and heading his team nationwide and the person who took his interview is on the third number position in the company after CEO and CFO. This meeting was almost a pleasure to be heard about. When the interview was over, the candidate called me up to update me about how it was. He was sounding very calm, and simply said, “Meeting went very well”, and we might meet again. These lines were so simple and full of hope and joy. This is what I want to talk about today.

When we conduct interviews for senior management people, we know things are going to be smooth. There are few things which are unique and special about senior manage, not interviews. These things are:

No fake commitments

When we talk to a senior person, we can be sure of one thing that the person is not going to make any false commitments or baseless fake commitments. Usually this is the case when we conduct interviews for middle level and lower level management positions. These people are clear and aware about their time, their responsibilities, their priorities, their interests and their challenges. They will tell us clearly whether they will be able to go for an interview or not, what time and day suits them the most. Are they interested or not. Will they join or not. These straight answers whether they are soft or rude are always good for a recruiter or an HR professional as it makes the job easier.

No petty excuses

A top level management professional will never make petty excuses like, “my phone broke down so I could not call you”, “my phone was stolen so I don’t know if you have called me”, “my wife is ill at home, she needs me , so I can’t go for interview”, “ just after your call, I met an accident” , These all are useless excuses people make to avoid their commitments, and they think the person they are talking to is a fool. We accept these petty excuses just because we know that arguing for a justification on this will just waste our time, the person is not worth it so let’s drop it.

No Ego hassles

This may sound crazy but yes this is true that senior people has got lesser ego issues than the middle level management people. I have heard people saying things like” why should I call him, he should call me”, “how could he make me wait for so long”, “why didn’t she call me sir”. These are the things which sound childish and product of some kind of psychological complex but when you deal with senior people it’s not there at all. They are modest and humble in most of the issues.

Talk about exposure and experience

The another thing which is very special about senior level management interviews are that they will prefer to talk about the exposure they can get in some company and the experience they have and they will discuss the various ways in which they could contribute towards welfare of the company and they would not talk about money at the very first place, in the middle level and lower management interviews the things starts at salary package and end with it too.

They prefer discussions

When two top level people talk, they prefer discussions, they indulge themselves in dialogue, instead of making an interrogating scene where one person is asking a question and other is answering them. They talk about things which are important for the role they are performing and their companies, they discuss it so that they can do some value addition. In other cases an interviewer thinks, “How to reject this candidate” and the interviewee “how to get this offer”, this is the only agenda for the interview, which is not really healthy.

Things to keep in mind if you are interviewing a senior management professional

If you interviewing a senior management professional, there are few things that you should always keep in mind, whether you are on more senior level or not, it doesn’t matter, the modus operandi to interview  senior professional is unique and different from other interviews.

Call him yourself: If you are an HR manager or the one representing the top management, whenever you want to call a senior person for an interview, call him either yourself or call som other senior person to call, never let a trainee executive, a junior HR person make a call to that person, because these people are too fresh to handle such personalities and its about protecting the reputation of the company you represent

Don’t make him wait: If you have called that person in your office and the person is polite enough to sit at the reception waiting for your call, you should not make him wait for long, after all he also holds the equally important position in the industry and he deserve to be given respect. Never let such person waits; attend him the moment he enters your office.

Receive him and drop him: While a senior person sits at the reception and waits for your call , you must have the courtesy to come to the reception and take that person along with you to the meeting room. This will make him feel comfortable and this gesture will surely impress him. After the meeting is over you must escort him to the gate so that he feels that e is important for you.

Call him for a meeting, not an interview: whenever you call a senior person for an interview, never say that you want to conduct his interview, we should simply say that we want to have a meeting with you to discuss if it’s possible to work together in future. This always leaves appositive impression on his mind.

Don’t start with money: while discussion begin, do not jump and start talking about his salary and perks he gets. We should start with personal questions followed by professional exposures, value additions that can be done, accomplishments so far, journey so far, vision and mission and so many things, In fact we should avoid to discuss salary at the first meeting

Closure with gratitude: the closer of the meeting with such senior person must be done with an expression of lots of gratitude that he could come and meet. You can use sentences like “surely we’ll meet again”, “Glad we met today”, “we shall meet soon” etc. This will leave a very positive impression about you on his mind

These are few points that one must keep in mind while interviewing a special senior candidate. These interviews are always very sensitive and they need to be handled with great care. Senior top management people are going to be the leaders of a company and they will decide the fate of the other employees. So we must take care of all the aspects of an interview with a senior person. No matter how much time it will take.




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