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HR Related Articles >> Strategic Career Moves at Senior Levels  
  Read and review this article on MSN India

Senior executives, usually in their early 40s, have been observed to have different ideas on this subject.
Some are very radical e.g. “…now I must make one change every year, if I have to become MD of company or reach top earning bracket” to some over confident sounding e.g. “If I am good then they will find me and run after me with appointment letters”.

Whereas some are also fatalist “..I’ve full faith in Him; I haven’t even made my CV in the last 5 years”.
Also a pushy type would apply against every job ad, maintain regular touch with almost all the placement consultants.


In fact there is no single short cut or sure path for every one to follow.

There are only very few who adopt a balanced approach, using multiple strategies interwoven with flexibility. In fact, it this plan of action which delivers results if sustained over a period of time.  Also there should be a strong commitment to continuous self improvement.

It is not uncommon to hear the remark that the interview did not last more than a few seconds (or the meeting with the Head Hunter). Here a few common reasons which could have “put off” the person on the other end of the table. These areas are generally overlooked thereby reducing the efficacy of the efforts put in.

Appearance & Personal Hygiene

First impression is the last impression. One should take true feedback from a friend or spouse about one’s looks and presentation.

Keeping in mind that India has hot climate besides pollution problem, following facts must be looked into:

» Body odor; too much perspiration; sweaty hands ( leading to an unforgettable hand shake)
» Shirts tend to loose their crisp look within 3-4 hours.
» Garments if worn regularly look much used within 3 months.(Keep a few spare sets of apparels for important meetings)
» Shabby / much used / overstuffed hand bag or brief case. (Even shopping bags are used )

Besides, care should be taken that you are wearing clothes which look right on you, suit the occasion and fit on your body properly. Here are some common observations, which must be avoided:

» Checked shirt with light colored tie
» Button down shirt but not buttoned up (wear a normal collar shirt if you don’t like Button down type)
» Bulging shirt pocket ( don’t try to  accommodate your pens, mobile phone, currency notes ,  pocket diary and a few odd slips  all together)
» Tight clothes ( your good taste for food is showing on you body and you continue to  buy the clothes of size when you were much slimmer)
» T Shirts or unshaven looks ( keep them for different occasions)
» Accessories: everything is just fine about you but you forgot that your spectacle frame or watch strap or waist belt needs to be retired.

In general, it is seen that after 35, exercises, meditation, good voice and paying attention to personal grooming makes a world of difference to your outer personality, posture, body language and attitude. In the corporate world, the trend about not considering candidates who are over weight is growing fast.

Wear your attitude (but only positive please)

Following are a few observations, which have caused a short and unsuccessful meeting / interview :

» Bored look ( it suggests to the interviewer that the candidate knows more than him or he has gone through this many times)
» Lack of enthusiasm ( signaling that there is no “fire in the belly” left)
» No smile or pleasant expression on face ( give me one reason why should you be hired)
» Rigidity or argumentative approach ( the interviewer will never think that you are trainable or will learn new skills essential for the job to be performed successfully)
» Counter questioning or challenging the views of the interviewer (it could have been done more diplomatically).
» Unnecessary hand movements (the hands are kept busy either scratching or wiping or gesturing). Depending on the use they may distract or irritate the other person. 


As a member of the interview board for senior & top level positions, I’ve often seen an interesting phenomenon. The M.D. or the Chairman would first like to meet the candidate, begin the conversation and if the initial round goes well then read his CV.

The importance of communication skills is directly proportionate to the seniority of the position in the organization. During the meeting, every word said is carefully analyzed – as to how it is pronounced, expressed or supported. Similarly there are words or phrases which are in fashion or out of fashion. The communication is an open window to candidate’s :

» Present state of mind
» Maturity & responsibility levels
» Relationships with others in his employer organization, family and friends
» Habit  of staying in touch with latest developments in his professional field
» General awareness, type of readings and ability to retain & recall the information.
» Openness to seek more information about the environment and use it properly.

thereby suggesting his preparedness in accepting more challenging role in a new company.

In an interview of 4 candidates for the post of Vice President (Marketing), none of them could name the Editor of the newspaper which they read daily.

Imagine a scenario where a person enters the room with the right attitude, impressive body language, dressed very appropriately, bringing with him a whiff of fresh air, takes his seat with a smile, sits with a proper body posture, goes through the discussions in positive manner and he walks out with smile and the coveted job in his pocket.

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