Like any process, applying and interviewing for a new job carries with it an unspoken set of rules. Competition for top jobs is tough, so you need to be well prepared and avoid the common CV /resume and interview pitfalls that could lose you a lucrative position.

DO . . .

a) Think about how you present yourself

Whether on paper, by email, or in person, it is important that you give a good impression whenever you communicate about the executive appointment you are interested in. A professional image is critical to your success, and it is something that makes an immediate impact. 

b) Tell the truth 

Apparently, some people have been tempted to lie about their qualifications or experience. This is always a bad move, particularly if you are applying for an executive appointment. You have seen it on the news when someone has lied about their career experience or degrees. The company will be investing a significant amount of money in your appointment and on your salary, and they will not be happy if they discover you got the position by being dishonest with them. 

c) Be on time (can’t stress this enough)

Lateness should be avoided at all costs. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get to your place of interview 5-10 minutes early. (See the ultimate guide to interviewing.)If you are unavoidably caught up in traffic, make sure you have the company contact details with you so that you can call immediately and explain your situation. Once you get to the interview, don’t spend your time moaning about the delay, just be prepared to shine.

Don’t . . .

a) Be offensive

Applicants for executive appointments are expected to have a certain standard of behavior. Please don’t make the mistake of being too informal with your interviewer. Don’t tell rude or offensive jokes, or make comments that the interviewer may find distasteful. Limit your answers and questions to the subject and scope of the interview. 

b) Be over-confident

Over-confidence is a real thing. Research suggests overconfidence is described in three categories: overestimation, over-placement, and over-precision (Moore & Schatz, 2017). 

Overestimation is present in leaders who believe they are better and smarter than they are. They believe they perform flawlessly in tasks regardless of how difficult the task. The leader who states he has raised $10 billion in funds for past companies when a report states he has raised $2 billion is an example of overestimation. 

Over-placement is similar to overestimation because it is the belief you are better than others. Leaders who apply for positions because they believe they can perform better than the person holding the position is an example of over-placement. 

Over-precision is common among leaders. This belief places the leader in competition with other leaders or companies and removes focus from organizational priorities which leads to errors in leadership. A leader whose primary focus is numbers and not employees is an example of over-precision. 

Over-confidence in interviews is often the result of nerves. An effort to appear self-confident for executive appointments can end up looking like arrogance to the interviewer. Sell yourself by all means, but do it in a manner that shows that you can also work as part of a team and accept ideas and criticism from others.

c) Put too much emphasis on salary

If an employer thinks that you only want the job for the money, you are unlikely to get it. Any talk about salary and benefits should come at the end of the interview if, and only if, it is mentioned. Often the recruiter will be the one who discusses salary with you. If you begin by asking about pay and conditions, you run the risk of giving the interviewer the wrong impression. Salary is an important part of all executive appointments, so stick to your guns when negotiating salary, but don’t make it the focal point of the interview.

Executive appointments carry responsibility, and agencies and companies are looking for people who have the skills, qualifications and experience. Careful preparation and planning can help you to succeed.

Is an executive appointment one of your career goals? If so how are you preparing for it?

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Keep winning and creating harmony in your life.

Marla J. Albertie

Your Life Harmonizing Strategist


Moore, D. A., & Schatz, D. (2017). The three faces of overconfidence. Social & Personality Psychology Compass11(8), n/a-N.PAG.