Stellar Resume But They Blew the Interview!

An association executive recently shared with me her experience in interviewing candidates for the number 2 spot in her association.  She received several excellent resumes accompanied by glowing recommendations from former employers or colleagues.  Desperate to find someone to assume a strong number 2 role who could partner with her in taking the association to the next level, she lined up several interviews with what she assumed would be top candidates for the position based on their terrific resumes.

But what the executive experienced in the interview did not align with the stellar resumes.

How they blew the interview –

Negative about former employer: When asked about why they left the last job, the person got very negative about their former employer.  Negativity dominated the conversation and sucked the air out of the interview.

Boring Appearance:  The female applicant showed up in a gray boring suit with very little make-up, no jewelry and no style to their hair.  Boring!  The look implied no life or energy and this initial impression put a damper on their whole presence.  What would her board members say about her choice of number 2 when they met her?

Name dropping: Another applicant looked great, very alive and energized and started dropping names all over the place.  Great contact, the executive thought, but soon the name dropping turned into the implication that they were really too good for this job because they traveled in better circles!  Maybe this was just covering needing to prove that they were good enough by the company they kept!

Too much drama: The applicant shared too much personal information and family drama, perhaps intended to point to challenges she had overcome but it seemed scattered and confusing.  Who could keep track of this cast of characters- and who wanted to?

Too rigid: I only do this and not that.  Okay, you may not have great expertise in all areas but if you are number 2, you need to be flexible and develop a working knowledge of all parts of the organization so you can keep all the moving parts meshing together.

Didn’t act or speak the role: Another applicant went off on tangents, wasn’t focused, spoke in a scattered way and didn’t strike her as the person she could trust to gain the respect of the staff and the board members. And she was surprised at some of the statements that came out of her mouth.  What might she say to the board and committee members or suppliers she would be working with? When in doubt, end the interview with a polite “Thank you.  I will be in touch!”

All the executive wanted was someone to show up for the interview and say this is why I should have this job… This is the value that I bring to the organization…  Is that too much to expect?

What was the biggest interview mistake you have experienced?

Don’t miss “The Art of Interviewing: Creating Your Own Star Quality” being offered through ASAE Career Services on Thursday, July 14, 2011, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST.  SIGN UP HERE for this free teleseminar.

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