Like with anything new you'll be feeling excited and nervous as you hope to bag your first senior governance role. So, alongside the basics, what should you expect and most importantly prepare for?
What differentiates senior level interviews?
- Depending on departmental structures you’ll very likely not be interviewed by an experienced Company Secretary. The closest you may get is a General Counsel & Company Secretary.
- Your likely interviewers will be from the SMT and/or Exec; Finance Director, HR Director, General Counsel, CEO, Chairman.
- The process will on average take 2-3 weeks longer than the more common mid-level role you’re accustomed to. As well as include more separate meetings due to the input needed on the hire from senior stakeholders and everyone’s diary availability.
- During the pandemic and successive lockdowns virtual interviews have become very popular. While an increasing number of junior-mid level roles are being hired completely virtually, roles at the Deputy level and above require a minimum of 1 face-to-face interview.
- Your style and approach are the most important factors. Technical skills become more of a given and therefore how you apply and communicate your governance skills and knowledge within a business and with stakeholders is the key trait your interviewers will be wanting to understand.
How to prepare?
- Context is king! Particularly when being interviewed by individuals with limited to no background in governance. Therefore, ensure you prepare to deliver good detail around your experiences and skills. Ask yourself why is that example impressive, why is that skill a value add? Sell it.
- Know your audience. Think about how a CEO/CFO/GC perceives a Company Secretary, and most importantly how does this interviewer perceive a Company Secretary. If you’re unsure before the interview prepare how you will steer the interview with questions that will give you an insight into their expectations/experience of governance professionals. Armed with this knowledge, sell to your audience using language and context they understand/can relate to. Consider their perspective.
- Confidence. Unlike mid-level interviews you’re unlikely to be grilled on the minutiae of your experience. The ability of the interviewer to even grade your answer maybe be limited, therefore the confidence in which you speak about your skills is critical. Be honest but don’t undersell yourself! Know what makes stand you out. Know what makes you an excellent governance professional, and most importantly why is that important for the company and role you’re interviewing for.
Hopefully this provides some useful insights ahead of your first Deputy or Group Company Secretary interview, and don’t forget the basic interview prep!
Whatever the outcome the experience you will gain in understanding how to sell the value and importance of your skills to senior stakeholders is invaluable. It has helped Assistants and Deputies reflect more on the strategic impact they have on their current employer from multiple perspectives.
If you have any general questions or your 1st senior interview is on the horizon and want a tailored and confidential discussion on how to prepare please feel free to contact me – Rory@dmjrecruitment.com / 0203 058 1443