[January 16, 2014] In Part 1, it was proposed that senior leadership interviews have neither the form nor purpose as the classic interview. Not to imply that the executive interview is simply a formality, because it does not. The interview is only a part of a more complex network of decision-making.
This post is broken into a 2-part series due to its length. In the first part, the general framework for the interview was discussed. In this part, the content of the interview will be the subject of conversation.
Part 2: Content of the Interview
We now know that senior leader interviews are different than the traditional one-on-one, HR-type question and answer session. They are dissimilar in some key ways. This is one reason why calling it an interview is misleading.
The content of the discussion is tied closely to the four abilities in which the hiring authority has interests. Does the executive leader have: 1) the motivation, 2) the skills, 3) the true fit, and 4) the right values? Input from the interaction with the prospective senior leader is feed to a central point where it is synthesized.
Senior leader social and communication skills will be put to the test and done so in the most subtle and courteous of ways.
The interview is not about senior leader knowledge of their specialty but about their thinking on leadership, along with their attitude and bearing.
Of course, what anyone says in an interview differs depending on their level of leadership and position. For all leaders, their conversations should revolve around team-building (motivation, skills, fit, and values). For senior leaders, their discussions should also be about how they envision the world and how to make it better.
Herein lies the key to a successful senior leader “interview” for potential future employment. A senior leader must ensure that it is unmistakably obvious that the senior leader has a good attitude and are able to visualize the future.
Without this ability, regardless of motivation, skills, fit and values, a senior leader should not be allowed to take the lead in any organization. A positive attitude and vision will remain necessary, for they are the foundation that ensures a senior leader can lead.