In today’s rapid-fire business world, it’s crucial to fill empty roles quickly. Despite this emphasis on speed, companies are taking their time and doing their due diligence before extending a job offer, especially when it comes to executive-level roles. This discovery process often includes more assessments and rounds of interviews than in previous years, further lengthening the time for executive openings to be filled. If you’re a candidate looking for a senior-level position, it can sometimes be a frustrating experience, leaving you wondering what’s happening with your resume and why you’re not being called back quickly.

According to the 2019 MRINetwork Recruitment Trends Study, 18 percent of hiring authorities surveyed across the U.S. said the process is more protracted than it used to be for professional to executive-level positions. That’s also backed by research from other organizations. For instance, Global HR Research found that hiring a C-level employee can take as long as 71 days, citing a Jobvite study. That’s compared to just 43 days for other roles across industries. Meanwhile, Staffing Advisors reported that hiring a CEO or executive director can take anywhere from four to eight months due to a more thorough vetting process and the importance of finding the best candidate for the role.

The MRINetwork Study also revealed that of the 37 percent of employers who noted a change in the length of their hiring process, many cited a lack of qualified talent as the top reason. Beyond that, other top reasons include needing more time to attract talent and changes to the interview process.

According to SHRM, there are other key reasons that are leading to a lengthier hiring process. These include:

1. Candidates’ resumes are simply sitting in hiring managers’ inboxes

2. Recruiters are failing to push back on unrealistic expectations from the hiring manager

3. A general lack of communication between the hiring manager and recruiter

So, if you’re a candidate for an executive position and are about to begin a job search, here’s what to expect and some advice on how to achieve success:

First, you should understand that you’ll need to ace many rounds of interviews. You’ll likely go from an initial phone screen, or two, and then move on to numerous in-person interviews. This, of course, is important to ensuring the role will be a fit both for yourself and the company.

It can be very time-consuming, which is particularly true for upper management positions. It does, however, make sense given the level of responsibility executives often shoulder.

As you do proceed through the next rounds of a job interview, it’s imperative that you’re highly prepared. According to Forbes, you can do so by taking the following steps:

1. Do your research ahead of time: This is vital, especially if you’ve made it to a second-round interview. By doing research, you’ll be much more knowledgeable when asked to discuss specifics about the company and how you’d fit in with your skillset.

2. Be human and don’t try and have all the answers: While it’s important to research and maybe even practice answers to questions you may face, you never want to sound too rehearsed. Instead, be authentic in your responses and show that you can relate to and connect with others, especially as an executive hoping to join the company’s leadership team.

3. Interview the company: As part of making sure the company is a strong fit for you, take the time to ask questions of those you speak with during your interviews. This will allow you to tackle any potential red flags right away and also show your commitment to joining the business.

4. Take ownership of the role for which you’re being interviewed: Finally, it’s crucial that you “are mentally ready to ask important questions about expectations, performance, business pains and how you can add value to the organization,” according to Forbes.

Along with being prepared for interviews, a lengthier process makes it more commonplace for candidates to be assessed. For instance, you may be given a behavioral/personality assessment, a skills-based test or something more technical based on the industry to which you’re applying. As an executive, scoring well on these assessments is key because you’ll be expected to not only tackle problems yourself at a high-level, but also be able to effectively lead others to eliminating problems and finding solutions.

According to HBR, you can also expect assessments during the interview process that ask you to solve a real-life problem for the business. This “real unsolved problem” has “the advantage of providing [the company] with several potential solutions,” according to the article. With this knowledge, try and brainstorm the types of problems you might be asked to solve. This will help you think quickly on your feet and be more persuasive when being assessed in some way.

By taking these pieces of advice into consideration, you’ll be better equipped to maximize each interview, ultimately securing a job at a desirable company, despite a potentially lengthy interview process.

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