Many senior-level candidates believe their experience ‘speaks for itself’ and they fail to prepare for the interview process. Here are 5 ways to help you prepare for your executive interview and help you further position yourself for your next role.
Research is Key
Research is vital to ensuring the interview conversation goes well and you make a good impression. Prior to the interview, leverage the power of the internet to find information on the company –recent press releases, information on expansions or new product launches –and review the company website to find info on anyone you are scheduled to speak with. Having this knowledge prior to the meeting will help you connect with the interviewer, further demonstrate your interest in the company, and set your nerves at ease.
Watch Your Body Language
Body language is 70% of communication and interviewers watch your posture, mannerisms, and expressions to see if you are relaxed and calm.
Your goal is to be warm and welcoming and avoid being closed off or disinterested in the conversation.
Know Thyself Well
Even at the executive-level, you must be prepared to answer questions about your greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses. How have your strengths helped you in your previous roles? How have you overcome your weaknesses? Make sure you have a few anecdotes ready to share the typical questions, including: What is the most difficult thing about being in an executive role? If hired, what would be your priorities in your first three to six months? Where do you see our company succeeding? What’s one thing that you think we should change?
When you’re under stress, it is easy to veer off the subject. By thinking through your answers prior to your interview, you will avoid giving rambling answers and have a deeper level of comfort throughout the conversation. During the interview, listen to the questions and answer succinctly.
Weave in Your Career Success Stories
Done correctly, your resume will serve as a guide in the interview and you should be prepared to articulate the success stories shared within the document. Verbally communicating your accomplishments will help authenticate your stories and gives you the opportunity to provide context.
Know why you want the job and be prepared to share specifics about why you are motivated to make a move. You will also need to be ready to speak about your failures and how those experiences have helped you learn something valuable.
Keep the Conversation Going
An interview is a two-way conversation and you should have a list of questions ready for your interviewer. Consider asking what the company’s key goals are and what they’d like to see accomplished in the next few months. Or, ask what about the biggest change or challenge they’ve faced in the past six months.
At the end of the interview, ask about the next step. If your excited about the opportunity, you will want to keep the process moving forward by asking what the next steps are. Many people skip this thinking their experience and enthusiasm speak for themselves.
Once the interview is over, be sure to follow-up with a thank you note.