If you haven’t been on an executive-level job interview in awhile you may want to consider evaluating your performance during your first few forays to uncover needed improvements. And if you’re conducting a series of networking discussions, this same approach will help you to bolster your performance and your results.
I’ve listed a series of self-coaching questions here for your consideration. My suggestion would be to utilize these queries to analyze what’s working and what’s not working in your interviews and networking meetings. I would suggest doing this in writing unless you have access to a coach or objective third party you can leverage as a sounding board. There is great value in written or spoken reflection that simply cannot be captured when we talk to ourselves.
First, consider the big picture:
- What was the purpose of the discussion?
- Was the purpose achieved?
- If yes, how?
- If not, why not?
- What enabled its realization?
- What prevented its realization?
Second, examine your thoughts and feelings with regard to the discussion:
- How did you feel about the meeting?
- How did you feel about your performance?
- How do you think the others in the meeting felt about it?
- What do you think about the meeting now?
- What do you think the others think about it now?
Third, note what worked and what didn’t:
- What was positive about the discussion?
- What was negative about the discussion?
- What, in your opinion, went well?
- What, in your opinion, did not go well?
- What did you do that contributed to things going well?
- What did the others in the meeting contribute to things going well?
Fourth, clarify your future approach to such meetings:
- How could this discussion have had a more positive outcome?
- If you conduct a discussion like this one again (or have another interview), what would you do differently?
- What skills do you need to learn or improve to enhance your next meeting/interview?
Once you’ve analyzed your networking and/or interview results, I suggest building a short performance improvement plan. Jot down the strategies you’d like to leverage next time around, commit to taking action on them, and schedule that action so it actually gets done. Repeat as needed to improve your performance, continue to assess your performance going forward, and refine your networking and interviewing capabilities on an ongoing basis.
As an experienced executive you may have a lot of negotiations or communications experience, but there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned preparation. After all, this kind of reflection might make the difference between a fruitless conversation and an effective dialogue that opens the door to rich career possibilities.