Study: Why you didn’t land the top job (CBS News, 2011, Weisul)
Finding: Many job seekers at all levels don’t understand what the hiring managers are actually looking for in the interview process, and because of this they tend to emphasize the wrong characteristics and traits.
Note about The Woman Effect Research Index: This study was performed by researchers not affiliated with InPower Women. Our Research Index includes all relevant research to the subject of women, business and power. We do not influence how the research was conducted or reported by the researchers. In our abstracts, we focus on pulling out the most actionable advice for individual women. To suggest additional research we should index, or discuss our choice of abstract focus, please contact us
InPower Insight: Don’t underqualify yourself by bringing the wrong interviewing skills to the executive table.
Listen up job seekers and corporate ladder-climbers, if you’re vying for that executive level top job you had better brush up on your interviewing skills. If you’re using outdated interviewing skills it may not matter how up-to-date your work ethic or experience is.
This study by CBS News shows that in job interviews (and on resumes), candidates may not be displaying their skill sets and advantageous qualities well enough to attain jobs. Hiring managers are looking for certain characteristics for different hiring levels. If you’re interviewing for an executive level position while touting your entry or mid-level skills (such as work ethic), you aren’t delivering what’s really being looked for. The study shows that this is a recurrent problem among those seeking the highest level jobs.
Another study done by the Career Advisory Board surveyed 540 large company hiring managers and 734 job seekers. They questioned the hiring managers about desired traits and skills they looked for in hiring situations. They then polled the job seekers on what they thought hiring mangers wanted. The results were not consistent between the two groups.
At the entry-level those seeking a job benefit from selling themselves. For example, explaining that you have a great work ethic, drive, and exceptional problem-solving abilities. It was found that 79% of managers place the utmost importance on strong work ethic and 60% are looking for self-motivation and drive. Entry-level job seekers, according to this study, tend to perform well in interviews at this level and bring the necessary skill sets to the table.
At the mid-level, managers are looking for five traits:
- problem solving
- communication skills
- good time management skills
The study shows that mid-level job seekers perform well up to this point and then underperform when the interview moves to interpersonal skills. Thirty- six percent of managers highly value interpersonal skills while only 27% of job seekers at this level do the same.
For executive positions, hiring managers place an overwhelming emphasis on strategic perspective which many candidates fail to demonstrate, with only 21% bringing this skill to the interview table.
Business acumen and global outlook are also highly requested traits but only 14% and 6% of potential candidates emphasize this trait in interviews. You must also come across as someone who understands the demands of leadership. When interviewing for these high-level top jobs it’s important to understand what the company needs of you.
Career Coaching Tip: To get the job and climb the ladder, you need to get as smart as you can on what it takes to succeed at the next level up. Sometimes the glass ceiling isn’t about your gender, it’s about your readiness to go up a step. Even if gender plays a role, do your homework and learn how people above you succeed. This research will give you some general insight, but get personal, talk to people already in the jobs you want, get them to mentor you – not to succeed at your level but at theirs. When interviewers are talking to you they are looking to see if you’re going to survive and thrive and they need to see that you understand what it will take – both substantively and personally. There are resources out there – use them!
Category: Career Advancement
Keywords: interviews, job seeker, glass ceiling, interview skills, career tips
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