Jul 25 2010
During an executive job search, succeeding during executive interviews is the final step in landing that ideal executive position. Not only is it a requisite for demonstrating your skills to others, the process of refining your interview technique will help provide focus to your executive job search and remind you of your key strengths.
1. Importance of Research
To make a good impression at your executive job interview, it is vital to research in advance and to be knowledgeable about the company you are hoping to work for. Go online and find out as much information as you can about the company and anyone you will be interviewing with. Executive recruiters are always impressed when you mention press releases, know their revenue numbers, quote statistics, know backgrounds of executives, etc. Know the company, know their industry, know their competitors, and use their product if it is available.
2. Cover Strengths and Weaknesses
Envisage the type of stock questions that the executive recruiter will fire at you during the interview for this executive opportunity. These questions usually relate to your strengths and weakness in previous executive jobs and how you can demonstrate these (the strengths) or work to overcome them (the weaknesses). Think about questions related to where you will be in 2 to 5 years time, your most difficult work situation, when you’ve demonstrated elements of leadership, your most stressful job, your favorite job, etc. Sit down and come up with answers to all the stereotypical questions that get asked in executive interviews. You don’t want to get caught making something up off the cuff.
Tip: Make a Good Resume Count on the Day of your Executive Interview
3. Introduction and Presentation
When introducing yourself to the interviewer, it is important to be confident and natural. Give your first and last name, make eye contact and when shaking hands, match the pressure of their handshake. Body language is vital. Sit up straight, keep eye contact with your interviewer as much as possible and stay alert. Executive recruiters will be put off by executive candidates who appear tired or disinterested.
4. Biggest challenges? Where can I contribute?
Ask each interviewer what the biggest challenges of the position are at the beginning of your executive interview. Write down what they tell you and focus on how you can overcome those challenges with your skills and background. Focus on how you can help them, not on what the company has to offer you. Where can you contribute to their company, team or project?
5. What to Do or Say if You Were Laid Off or Fired
It is always awkward to let an interviewer know why you left your last executive job if you were laid off or especially if you were terminated for a cause. Never lie when asked. Be prepared to answer your layoff question with information that will dispel any assumption someone might have about cutting the poor performers. Try to show that there was a specific business reason behind your layoff. Your department was eliminated. The office was moved. The product you supported was being discontinued.
6. Close By Asking About Next Steps
I'm very excited about this opportunity. What's our next step? - This might very well be the deciding factor in getting an offer. Even if you have reservations, express to each interviewer that you are definitely interested in the position and want to know what you need to do next to keep the executive search process moving. And make sure that you actually SAY it in words at the end of the interview. Don't assume that they should have noticed your enthusiasm and interest level in this executive position from the rest of your comments during the interviewing process.
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The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Advanced Job Search
As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to: