Home

1 (800) 363-1207

Executive Interview Process

I find it interesting that the majority of folks—from C-suite executives down to young professionals—are convinced that they handle interviews great. “If I can just get the interview, I can overcome any objections the company may have about hiring me” they say. The reality is far from it for most candidates. In fact, the adeptness with which candidates tanked interviews in a state of blissful ignorance is what drew me away from the corporate world and to the career services industry more than a decade ago.

Age discrimination is a reality that can show up during the executive interview process. Through the Internet, this information is visible—a LinkedIn profile picture can reveal your age; a Google search can uncover your age; and filling out a job application can give away your age by the length of your career and date of a college degree.

While the interviewer may be the one asking the questions, you will need to change your approach. Avoid giving the interviewer something to discriminate against. Here are a few examples:

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of executive interviewing, featuring Barbara Safani, BlueSteps Executive Career Services.

Some of the questions asked included:

Executive interviews can be challenging, even for the most experienced professionals. Once you have secured your interview, it is important to take the right steps to prepare for every situation and question that you could face. Below is a breakdown of helpful ways to prepare, success-enhancing behaviour and what to avoid.

Everyone knows that good communication skills are important, and if you’re a successful executive, you’ve probably already mastered activities such as meeting leadership and public speaking. If you have looked for a new position in recent years, you’re likely to also be aware of the importance of clear and compelling communication in an interview.
 
However, presenting yourself well verbally is only one part of the equation for a successful interview. If you focus your attention exclusively or even primarily on that aspect, you could experience frustration and an occasional unpleasant surprise when an interview doesn’t turn out the way you hope or expect it to.
 
To quote a couple of wise men:

To excel at executive interviews, you must have a clear understanding of the purpose, be invested in the process, and give your very best performance in a high-pressure situation. Don’t fall for the myths and preconceptions that have sprung up about this experience. For example:

MYTH #1: Once I get the interview, I’ll be fine. Countless executives have said something like this to me over the years—meaning that they can hold their own in the interview and are only worried about getting the interview in the first place. These executives usually fall into two camps:

1) agile and eloquent speakers who are confident they can talk their way through any situation;

When interviewing for an executive position, the right preparation is essential. Generally, you will need to provide more in-depth responses than for management or director-level roles. One of the most valued traits that employers look for is a candidate’s ability to demonstrate a strategic perspective, closely followed by his or her business acumen, and a global outlook. Make sure you offer ample evidence that you can bring all of this and more to the table during an executive interview.
 

Earlier today, BlueSteps hosted the #ExecCareer Executive Interviewing TweetChat featuring our expert BlueSteps Career Coaches.
 
Some of the questions asked included:

More crucial perhaps than the in-person interview for the global executive, is the telephone interview. As the initial executive interview, it is the door-opener to follow-on conversations with a company. Frequently, cost savings and necessity demand that subsequent interviews with multiple representatives from the company will be conducted by phone - flying an executive thousands of miles for a day or two of interviews is not realistic and unnecessary with the current available technology.
 

Your outstanding resume and extensive networking have paid off, and you have a day of meetings scheduled to discuss a key executive role at a target company. You’re mostly thrilled about the opportunity, except…For the last 15 years, you were promoted from within, or you “fell into” a job. To say your executive interview skills are rusty is, well, a bit of an understatement. When you think about it, you cannot really remember the last time you interviewed!

Not surprisingly, a few things have changed in recent years that affect how you should approach an interview. Here are some core areas to focus on as you go forward.