Interviewing a senior leader is a two-way street. You and your dream candidate are sizing one another up, and one hiccup in the interview process could cost you the leader you need. As such, it’s in your best interests to develop an interview style that encourages candidates (and in many ways, hiring managers) to be open and authentic.

It’s the best way to ensure visions and values are aligned and transparent at the earliest opportunity. And yes, if often means putting the script to one side.

In this Masterclass, we share six essential steps to developing an interview approach that gets hiring managers what you need from leadership interviews, without being script bound.

 

Step 1: distinguish between the job description and the brief

Your job description and hiring brief are two contrasting but essential components of identifying your perfect candidate. The job description focuses on tasks and for senior leaders, evidence of delivery. The hiring brief priorities the type of person that’ll be a culture fit and culture add to your organisation – think values, characteristics, and ambitions.

Both are equally important must be carefully balanced. Doing so will avoid an incredible candidate from being overlooked and help you narrow down a strong, diverse candidate shortlist faster.

This approach is especially important for senior leaders who, in their broad and wide-reaching roles, may not have a specific experience, but have proven they’ve more than enough potential to drive success.

 

Step 2: choose everyday settings for extraordinary insights

Natural, everyday settings such as coffee shops, bistros or even a nice station lounge are an ideal choice for first interviews. If that surprises you, let us explain our thinking!

A fantastic senior leader is a leader through and through. Instinct, insight and dedicated practice have cemented leadership qualities into an ideal candidate’s DNA. That means they should exude leadership energy in any scenario, not just behind boardroom doors and over chaired video calls.

Natural settings allow you to sit back and observe if and how a candidate comes across as a leader. How do they hold themselves when they enter the room? How do they maintain a conversation and body language in a busy environment? How do they interact with and respect staff? How at ease are they when removed from their usual territory?

An ability to seamlessly adapt, engage and thrive in fluid environments, surrounded by all sorts of folk, is a crucial leadership attribute. Choose an everyday setting to see it in action!

 

Step 3: decide on your top three takeaways

There’s only so much a CV can tell you – and that’s the way it should be! Senior leadership and c-suite interviews are more akin to conversations – candidate and hiring organisation connecting and deciding whether there’s a bright future between them.

That said, letting the conversation take its course can leave you wanting later on, and make it difficult to compare candidate aptitude. Our answer to this challenge is to prepare three questions that you absolutely need an answer to, to ensure your candidate is the leader to take you forward.

This could be around ED&I contributions, proof of implementing net zero strategies, overcoming hiring setbacks or navigating government policies – whatever masters most you and the role. Ask your questions conversationally, in a manner which encourages detail and expansion and you’re on to a winner.

 

Step 4: put ed&i centre stage where it belongs

As we mentioned, senior leadership interviewing is a two-way street. Candidates – especially those coming from outside the Transport sector – will be weighing up whether your organisation shares their vision and values. And any reputable, progressive senior leadership will care deeply about ED&I and want you to prove it with your actions.

Waste no time in shining a spotlight on ED&I. Share your ED&I goals and ask about your candidate’s ideas and experiences during the earlier interviews: every solid leader will have opinions and plans, regardless of their business area.

And put your money where your mouth is, too. Ensure that your interviewing panel is diverse so that candidates see your Employer Value Proposition in action. A diverse panel will also help to mitigate unconscious biases in the recruitment process.

 

Step 5: let your frontline staff shine

Senior leaders have an impact and influence across an entire organisation. For change to be truly effective, every colleague must engage with and support and leader’s vision – especially true in Transport, where strategies are made or broken on the frontline.

Crucially, this means that leaders must be liked, respected, and trusted. But hiring someone new at the top doesn’t have to be a gamble! How so, you say?

Well, we like to encourage clients to invite frontline staff in on the interview process. Hiring a Customer Experience Director? Bring a ticket officer into the process and ask their opinions of your candidate. Or for an Operations Director, consider adding a junior engineer to the panel.  The list goes on but one thing remains the same: your frontline staff’s input will be invaluable (and be a great development opportunity, too!).

 

Step 6: find a collaborative balance with HR

Although this approach is all about making the interview process your own and creating spaces where candidates show their true selves, structure is inevitable. And structure is good! We can’t neglect the basics and that’s where our friends in HR come in to the fray.

Before shaking up your interview strategies, sit down with HR and understand the effects of such change and what they can do to help. If your ideas result in higher-quality leadership candidates joining the team faster, we guarantee they’ll be all ears.

 

Successful interviews are all about creating environments where candidates show up as their authentic selves. After all, cultivating these conversation-driven, judgment-free and balanced spaces is the best way to ensure you attract the very best leader – and keep them.

If this approach is new to you – no worries! Ask Intuitive’s expert Transport talent consultants how we help clients fine-tune an interview style that feels effortless but still checks your critical boxes. Drop us a message here. We can’t wait to hear more about you.

WE would love to get to know you!

Please do give us a call, drop us a message or follow us on Twitter & Linkedin!

Related blogs

Read more Read more
CV Rules and Best Practices for Senior Leaders

How you can take your CV from a tell-all list to a marketing tool that increases your chance of securing an interview.

Read more Read more
Video: Nina Reflects on 10 Years of Intuitive

Founder and Director Nina Lockwood reflects on the last ten years of Intuitive and shares her thoughts on recruitment and the transport industry.

Celebrating ten years of Intuitive Recruitment
Read more Read more
Video: Ten Years of Intuitive

Intuitive’s first decade has been magical. Here are the highlights, from bringing new faces into the sector to hosting a hit podcast and winning Executive Recruitment Agency of the Year.

Intuitive 2022 Year in Review
Read more Read more
Video: Our 2022 Wrap Up

2022 has certainly been a fantastic year for Intuitive. So to celebrate, we’ve packed our highlights into a short wrap-up video.

Read more Read more
Infographic: Sector Switching – How to Figure out the Right Fit?

Could a different sector be a better fit for your career priorities and progression goals? This 7-step plan can help you decide.

Read more Read more
Adapting Your Interview Style: Part 2 – In-Person Interviews

In-person interviews are far more fluid than they used to be – especially for senior leaders. Here are four ways to adapt your interview style for senior leadership positions.

Read more Read more
Adapting Your Interview Style: Part 1 – Video

As video interviews have grown, so have expectations of how candidates use virtual tools. Here’s how to adapt your interview style for virtual spaces.

Read more Read more
Making LinkedIn an Irreplaceable Career Progression Tool

We share our tried-and-true seven-step strategy for making LinkedIn an irreplaceable tool in your career progression journey.

Read more Read more
Hallmarks of Ads that Attract the Strongest Candidates

Discover four fundamental features of senior leadership job adverts that attract the strongest Transport candidates.

Read more Read more
Allyship in Transport Resources

Missed our Allyship in Transport Knowledge Session? Catch up on the highlights or watch the full session here.

Read more Read more
Building an Employer Value Proposition That Evolves with Candidate Expectations

While you can’t predict what’s to come, adjusting your strategic approach with an evolving EVP can ensure it always delivers what matters.

Read more Read more
Faster Career Progression by Embracing Positive Thinking

A positive attitude can be a real divider when it comes to professional success and can improve confidence, relationships and the speed at which you achieve your goals.

Read more Read more
Building a Personal Brand That’s Instantly Memorable

How do you curate a personal brand that’s true to you but still has career progression prowess?

Read more Read more
How To Have Authentic Conversations With Candidates

Authentic conversations help uncover the real person behind an impressive CV, and are paramount to matching the right candidate with the right enterprise.

Read more Read more
Weighing Up A New Role: Three Questions To Ask

We share three fantastic questions that every transport leadership candidate should ask during the interview process. Revealing answers are guaranteed!

Read more Read more
Workplace Belonging Resources

Missed our Workplace Belonging Knowledge Session? Catch up on the highlights and download our resources here.

Read more Read more
Intuitive proudly announce our CPT membership

Intuitive will be teaming up with the CPT to connect bus and coach organisations with exceptional leadership professionals.

leadership potential
Read more Read more
Ways to Identify Leadership Potential Outside Your Sector

How can your transport organisation tap into cross-sectoral talent and identify leadership potential? We explore strategies for finding talent and 5 specific characteristics to look for.

transport sector
Read more Read more
How Transport Can Be a Successful Force for Change

Why connecting with clients with candidates from outside of the transport sector is important and how it can benefit your organisation. We share 4 interesting advantages.

Read more Read more
Reverse Mentoring: Why it’s Important to the Transport Sector

Reverse mentoring empowers less senior, younger, or more unconventional employees to share their knowledge and experience with more senior, conventional, and oftentimes older colleagues.

Read more Read more
How to Challenge Unconscious Bias in the Recruitment Process

Unconscious bias has been associated with career challenges for those from diverse backgrounds, and when left unchecked, can affect workplace inclusivity.

Read more Read more
Why Your EVP will Turn the Tide on Recruitment Challenges

Putting your employer value proposition at the heart of your recruitment strategy can set you up for long and short term success.

Read more Read more
4 Ways to Have a Positive Mindset in Your Role

In the workplace and as a leader, a positive mindset is important not just for job satisfaction, but for being effective and driving change.

ed&i knowledge session transport
Read more Read more
Become an ED&I Agent of Change

Practical resources to help you drive change and opportunity for diverse talent in transport.

Read more Read more
Unveiling the 90 Day Accelerator Programme

Nina and Founder and Director of Metisblue Laurent Bouvier introduce the exclusive and focused 90 Day Accelerator Programme.

diversity in transport report 2022
Read more Read more
Diversity in Transport Report 2022

Learn how your Transport organisation can benefit from enhanced Diversity and Inclusion in its teams with our exclusive Diversity in Transport Report – the 2022 edition.

Blog Title Card: Nina on Inspirational Women in Recruitment
Read more Read more
Hear Nina on the Inspirational Women in Recruitment Podcast

Nina recently featured on the Inspirational Women in Recruitment podcast, revealing her approach to attracting and engaging talent and more.

Skills for the transport sector
Read more Read more
How to Match Transport Candidates Beyond the Job Description

Whether recruiting as an internal team or with a Talent Consultancy, our tips can help you match high-level roles with the best in transport.

Blog Title Card: Transport Diversity and Inclusion
Read more Read more
Can Diversity and Inclusion Tackle Transport’s Challenges?

Diversity of thought, perspective and experience allows innovation to thrive, and for the best ideas to win. Discover how in our infographic.

Blog Title Card: In-Demand Skills for Transport
Read more Read more
5 Key Transferable and Desirable Skills for the Transport Sector

Discover the top five in-demand transferable skills relevant to high-level roles in the transport sector, based on feedback from our clients.