BlueSteps Career Management and Executive Search Blog
The BlueSteps Career Management Blog is written with a C-level audience in mind on career management topics ranging from executive compensation, executive resumes, and interview tips to networking, executive job search, and gaining visibility as a professional in one’s industry.
The BlueSteps Executive Search Blog links senior executive candidates to actual retained search recruitment insights from AESC member executive recruiters, BlueSteps career advisors and other guest writers.
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Advice and tips on how to prepare and excel in your executive interviews.
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.
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.
Good question. I am often asked this question by my Executive clients and the uncertainty makes sense. Often, an Executive Level candidate’s career had progressed through the ranks and when they find themselves either in a position where they would like to transition to another organization, or need to seek a new opportunity, they may not have had an actual executive interview in more than 20 years. The last time they interviewed, they may not have been at an Executive Level, and so this type of interview might be a first.
Lack of interest or enthusiasm during the executive interview process is on the top 10 list of reasons for candidate rejection. Executives don’t always realize it or understand just how important it is to follow up after an interview, beginning with a thank you letter to each interviewer.
Following up can help you turn an executive interview into an offer by knocking out your competition, reassuring the hiring manager of your capabilities, or turning a losing situation into a winning one. Consider the following pointers.
Once you’ve completed your unconventional interview, it’s extremely important to follow-up with the interviewer, otherwise you’ll be quickly forgotten. In a competitive job market, you should never overlook something as simple as sending a thank you note or picking up the phone to thank the person who gave you a chance to interview. It may seem trivial, but nonetheless it’s essential. Here’s what you should do after your unconventional interview wraps up:
When you get that call from an executive recruiter or hiring manager that they would like to set up a pre-screening phone interview, pat yourself on the back. You have made it to the first step. But, don’t think this a relaxed and laid-back conversation. This is a very important phone call because the interviewer will be developing a profile on you. You will be judged on your attitude, personality, ability to communicate effectively, and how well you might fit into the company culture.
When it comes to acing your unconventional interview, you should know two things: 1) Confidence is key and 2) Being prepared is a crucial step toward interview success. Now that you know how to prepare for your interview, what can you do to ace it with ease?
For starters, sit by your phone/computer at least ten minutes prior to your scheduled unconventional interview. Answer the phone/video conference with your name and a smile. Never answer the phone by simply saying, “Hey” or “Hi.” Try saying something like this: “Good morning. This is (INSERT NAME).” Sounding professional is just as important as looking professional.
From sweaty palms to racing hearts, the rapid-fire questions and glaring eye contact from human resources is enough to intimidate any job seeker during an in-person interview. What if you removed the face-to-face interaction and replaced it with an unconventional approach? Would your preparation change? Would your anxiety diminish?