Executive interview

Has your interview been a success?

By John Rudland

​When it comes to interviews, it’s easy to spend hours in advance preparing yourself for tricky questions and planning how to sell your skills. But do you know how to tell if your interview is going well? Ahead of your interview for a senior interim role, here are five common signs which may indicate that the hiring panel is favourable towards you.

Positive body language

If you read our previous article about making a good impression, then you’ll know that we have shared advice on how to make the most of your body language. The same is true for your hiring panel. When it comes to senior social work jobs, you may expect to be interviewed by C-Suite executives (perhaps a Director of Service or a Head of Service) – in which case you may want to pay attention to what their body language is saying to you.

Are they smiling or laughing a lot? Is their body language suggesting that they are interested in what you are saying? Perhaps their palms are open, they are leaning forward or they are nodding a lot. These are just a few ways which may indicate that they are excited about what your skills can bring to their team.

Strong rapport with the hiring panel

It’s also worth considering how much of a rapport is being built during the interview. They may ask you about your personal hobbies and interests, or the conversation may drift away from the specific interview questions. If so, it may be that they are sizing you up to find out how you would fit in with their team.

When it comes to senior social work job roles such as Heads of Service, Service Managers or Interim Consultants, the hiring panel will be looking for much more than your individual skillset. Having the ability to lead confidently and use interpersonal skills to build relationships with co-workers will be vital to the job. Therefore, if you can quickly build a positive rapport with the panel, they may feel more confident that you are the right person for the job role.

Your interview lasts longer than expected

When it comes to executive social work job roles, each interview may have a set time frame. After all, the senior interviewing panel will have packed schedules, so it’s important that things run to time. During your pre-interview preparation, your dedicated consultant will confirm with you the planned timings, so if your interview lasts much longer than you anticipated, you may want to see this as a positive sign. It shows that they are prepared to allocate much more time than they had available to continue your conversation.

They ask you about your notice period

A good indicator that you are being considered for the job role is if they ask you about your notice period and continue the conversation through follow-up questions. It means they aren’t just asking you a generic question; they are genuinely trying to establish when you can start work.

If a local authority immediately requires a change of leadership (perhaps as a result of a poor Ofsted report or a Serious Case Review), then they will need somebody quickly to take charge. At senior levels, many authorities will be prepared to hire interim staff to fill the position whilst you work out your inevitable lengthy notice period.

You’re introduced to your future colleagues

If the interview is conducted within your potential employer’s premises (rather than via video technology), it is almost inevitable that you will be given a tour of the office. If the interviewer takes the time to formally introduce you to members of the team, then you can start to feel confident in your chances. It’s often a clear indicator that they want to see first-hand how you would fit in with your colleagues.

If you are taken on a tour, make sure you continue to make a good first impression with everyone that you are introduced to.

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