We have a series here in which we bring Headhunter insights for identifying candidates for executive jobs. We have already shared views from Mitch Beck once before and this is part 2 of his interview. For candidates in executive jobs, there is a strong possibility that while being in the thick of things on the job front- they do not pay attention to a sudden headhunter contact request. There is also a possibility that there is no ‘time to prepare’ before a big appointment. So, we offer some tips through our headhunters on what to always keep in mind, before walking into a meeting and walking out with a good feeling or even a matching executive position.
Which questions do you always have when identifying candidates for executive jobs?
Mitch: Every question in an interview is important. Being prepared is the essence of ANY good interview. If you want any talk show on television, the conversation flows because of two things…1) The person has already been pre-interviewed and they know the interesting stuff to talk about and 2) the host is prepared and the guest knows what’s coming.
A business interview is no different. You need to “pre-interview” yourself. Be objective and look at the qualifications for the job you are interviewing for and then look at your resume/C.V. and think about the questions an interviewer would ask in the same situation. Then, prepare an answer that SELLS you. Be positive and NOT negative on ANYTHING.
What was one of your most unusual candidate search mandates?
Mitch: Nothing our clients have ever asked to search for has ever been that unusual or outlandish that it needed to be that memorable. What I would suggest to anyone reading this though is to know your background and if you have unique attributes that give you an edge over your competition then use them.
Remember this…an interview is a sales call and you are the product. You would not sell a new blender by saying that the plug only fits in certain sockets. You sell it by showing what it can do. The same applies here. Do not be afraid to share what makes you better.
Who is the top manager of today, why?
Mitch: Top Managers today are the ones who do not have a sense of superiority and understand that the person thy are interviewing may well be nervous…have a boat load of problems that they’re dealing with that they are bringing to the situation.
The best managers LISTEN, not just hear, what their interviewees are saying and they allow for human frailty and mistakes.
I often remind people that you see the same people on the way up the ladder that you do on the way down and how you treat people is essential not only to a better workplace and working environment, but to a better world in general.
From the candidates‘-perspective: what can they expect from a top recruiter?
Mitch: Do not expect anything from a recruiter that is the first thing. A recruiter is a person looking to make a living just as you are. They do not work for you; they work for their client who is paying them. When you rely more heavily on the recruiter than you are on yourself, you are setting yourself up for major disappointment and failure.
A good recruiter knows when they have a marketable candidate that they can place… A good recruiter knows what their client is looking for. Most importantly of all, a good recruiter knows that the person on the other end of the phone or the desk needs their help and will NOT look at them as just a piece of meat or a piece of paper, but a human being who is asking for help. A good recruiter will live by the adage of treating others the way they want to be treated.
What are the key characteristics for a senior-position today?
Mitch: There is no difference in terms of “Key Characteristics” between a senior level person and a junior level person. Winners are winners. They know how to be professional and friendly and work with others. They instinctively know what, “focus”, is and they know and have demonstrated in the past or have shown signs of demonstrating in the future, an understanding of leadership and how teamwork occurs.
What’s been the highest salary for which you have placed a candidate?
Mitch: I could drop numbers here but it doesn’t matter. Does a recuriter who placed someone making $10M make them a better recruiter than someone who’s placed someone at $10K? All it means is they have higher spending clients. The process of working with people and placing the best people in the best jobs is the same no matter what the salary level or the fancy shingle on the door says.
Having happy clients and fulfilled candidates is what my firm is about no matter what the level is. We’ve placed everything from a dog groomer to Presidents of companies. It doesn’t matter. Working with people and satisfying both our clients and those who come to us seeking our help is our #1 objective.
For me a candidate is an immediate reject in an interview if…
Mitch: They treat me any less than the way they want me to treat them. Negative people are also an instant out. The single most important thing for a perspective interviewee to know is that people hire whom they like. They do NOT hire people they do not like. It is that simple. It is human nature. We drift towards those we feel comfortable with and repel from those we do not.
Which questions would you never ask a candidate?
Mitch: I was a comedian for over 20 years, so this is a loaded question. The bottom line again, as we have stressed throughout this entire interview is the same thing…We treat people the way that we want to be treated. It is about mutual respect and for us, about having some laughs with the people we work with along the way.
What is most interesting for you to interview the candidate again?
Mitch: I do not believe in multiple interviews. I just do not. If you cannot glean all that you need in one interview then you are doing something wrong. I am not talking about negotiating a salary or a benefits package.
That often takes a few calls or conversations, but when I talk to a candidate, I expect them to answer the questions I put forward and to fill in the blanks where I miss something. I also expect them to interview me as well, so if after all of that, we have not decided if they are good for a job or qualified…we have wasted time.
At 40, am I still interesting for a headhunter?
Mitch: Depending upon the job, yes or no. For entry-level jobs, I would say the answer is no…for management and senior level positions – absolutely not! I am over 50 and feel better now than I did when I was in my 30’s. However, despite how I am feeling, the truth is that for entry-level jobs, for serious consideration for something at that level is going to be hard.
Why? Because someone at my age, or a 40 plus year old person – should be beyond that. The ONLY exception to that rule is if you’re making a career change…but know this…if you are 40 or older and making a career change, that in and of itself is going to raise a red flag and could cause you to likely be ruled out.
What is the one thing candidates should watch out for in their first headhunter contact?
Mitch: I have a simple rule that I have repeated a bunch of times already in this interview. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember that this person you are contacting, you are not the only one contacting them. You need to be positive and friendly and not a pest or a whiner.
Be respectful and again, do not lay all your eggs in one basket. A recruiter is just one of the tools in your quiver in getting a new position. Remember that and you will be fine.
Which social networks do you use for searching candidates or finding information about them? What is your approach?
Mitch: There are a multitude out there. Rather than wasting anyone’s time listing the obvious ones, I’d rather just say that taking your time to make sure you get as much information as you can on your profiles are the best way to get noticed.
Recruiters are searching keywords and if you don’t have yours out there, the researchers are not going to find you.
How do you identify high potential candidates for an interview?
Mitch: We have discussed that several times. Some of it is instinct and the rest is presentation. Does the person come off energetic? Do they come across as friendly? Do they sound desperate? Is anyone still reading this? I am boring myself at this point. Be sincere and do your best.
For the thousandth time, do not risk everything on one endeavor and put all hope of your future in some recruiter somewhere. Use them as another of the resources that you have available to you to get where you want to get to.
Thank you Mitch for sharing such great insights with our audience and especially candidates in senior and management jobs. Just for everyone’s knowledge, Experteer works with about 10,000 headhunters and executive recruiters, who bring exclusive senior level positions for job seekers worldwide.
About Mitch Beck & Crossroads consulting LLC:
In the fall of 1996 Mitch Beck was at a personal “Crossroads.”
Alone and out of work he had to make a decision about his future. Mitch had spent 20+ years as an innovative Radio Personality & Comedian and had also worked on and off as an Executive Recruiter in the Employment industry since his childhood as his mother owned an Employment Agency.
So Mitch decided that he wanted to add something he hadn’t had in his life in quite some time, no, not a date, but employment stability. So Mitch borrowed $5,000 from a friend, took out his 3 ring notebook filled with fresh ideas and dreams of success and Crossroads Consulting, LLC was born.
Crossroads Consulting, LLC is a full-service Employment Agency and Executive Search firm whose mission is to help people find genuinely rewarding employment and assisting companies find the dedicated, hard-working professionals they seek.