Executive Interviews: Verbal and Nonverbal Cues to Look for During your Interview

In any communicative interaction, there is a sender and a receiver. Thousands of verbal and nonverbal cues are transmitted between communication partners at any given time during a conversation. Few such interactions are as high-stakes as an executive-level job interview.

Both interviewer and interviewee are constantly making mental notes, keeping up with the conversation, and reading the other party for nonverbal cues as to the suitability of the partnership. We compiled some of these cues to help you keep an eye out for positive and negative indications during executive interviews. Combine this knowledge with our Executive Interview Guide for the CSO Candidate, and nothing will stand in your way!

Cues to Look for During Executive Interviews

Indications that your interviewer is interested in moving forward with you:

  • They are paying attention, hanging on to your every word, nodding, smiling, and making eye contact.
  • They are asking questions to get more details from you and taking notes.
  • They openly share information about the current struggles and challenges the organization is facing.
  • They give honest details about the goals and purpose of the role, including why it is vacant and who filled the position previously.
  • They schedule follow-up conversations, introduce you to the decision-maker, or outline the next steps in their selection process.

Indications that your interviewer is not interested in moving forward with you:

  • They are not paying attention, avoiding eye contact, checking their watch, or seeming otherwise unengaged.
  • They respond to your questions with a lack of interest and ask the bare minimum number of questions.
  • They share minimal information about the current struggles and challenges the organization is facing.
  • They hold back details about the role’s goals and purpose.
  • They finish the interview abruptly and don’t explain the next steps in the process or ask for a follow-up conversation.

Always go into an interview well-prepared and remember, it is a conversation, not an interrogation. Both parties should give and take in a natural manner, rather than one dominating the interchange.

To find out how we can help you win over your interviewers, book a complimentary and confidential call with us here.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.