While you rehearse answers to questions regarding your work experience, strengths, and vision for the company’s future, there still are a couple of things that you need to ensure before walking into that interview room.
Executive interviews demand a higher level of knowledge and skill than entry-level interviews. Of course, executive positions are a big deal. A C-level position requires leadership qualities, decision making, and management skills to steer a complete organization forward.
As a C-level employee, you will not only be responsible for driving your company to success, but also represent the culture, philosophy, and values the company is built on. When the stakes are high, you must be more than just prepared for the interview.
The interview, if went right, will form your relationship with an organization that is going to shape your future for the years to come.
Harvard Business Review, in its article titled “Recruiting for Cultural Fit,” elaborates upon the necessity of hiring candidates that resonate with an organization’s values and goals. The recruiters for a C-level interview are often inclined towards candidates who fit in the company’s culture. Understanding a company’s culture goes beyond studying the products and the mission & vision. You need to research about the intangible practices that make the company what it is today.
In a list of things to research before the job interview, Glassdoor mentions gathering information on the interviewer whom you would be interacting with. “This will give you an advantage during the interview as you’ll have a better chance of connecting with them and sparking a meaningful conversation,” says the blog.
Reading the company’s website, press releases, product/service reviews, news articles, and case studies are a few among many other methods an entry-level candidate would rely on to accumulate information. A C-suite candidate, however, must understand the philosophy behind values and stats. Recruiters might love to see your shrewdness to look at the bigger picture and offer unique perspectives.
When the stakes are high, you might get nervous to break the ice; we understand that. But you can earn yourself some brownie points and make a great first impression by initiating the conversation and introducing yourself.Doing so can allow you to steer the conversation in the way you desire. Starting the conversation also shows the panel that you own the aura of a leader who likes to take initiatives.
The interviewers will focus both on your strengths and the ability to find solutions in crises, so there might be tricky questions waiting for you at every corner. Make sure you prepare good examples showcasing all that you claim as your strengths while portraying yourself as somebody who can balance between being a team player and making independent decisions whenever necessary. More importantly, convince them that you are bigger than the facts and figures your resume mentions. Do not leave a chance to show them that you have what it takes to maintain harmony within an organization.
You must have had enough encounters with trials in your career till now, so use this opportunity to tell your story. Talk about a challenge you faced in your career and the actions you took to overcome it. Reflect your problem-solving skills and the ability to adapt by discussing what you gained from the result and how it impacted your views. Doing so will help you establish yourself as a flexible individual who knows how to make the best out of a situation.
And make sure to research and prepare the answers to tough executive-level questions. While there are general questions that assess the leadership and management skills of the candidate, there are also organization-focused questions that the recruiters might ask during the interview. And this is exactly where your acquired knowledge from research on the company will come in handy!
And don’t forget to emphasize your differentiators to set yourself apart from other candidates. You aren’t the only one competing for that post!
You can also ask stats-based questions that are unique to the organization, but that will be dependent on how well you utilize the researched information about the company.
You must have faced many interviews by now. And we’re sure you know the importance of actually looking like the right candidate for the position you’re aiming for. Remember the last time you prepared yourself for an interview? Add an extra layer of detail to that for your C-suite interview.
Dress for the part of an executive-level candidate, making sure your presentable demeanor leaves a lasting impression. Your body language is important too. Throughout the interview, sit and listen attentively while making sure that eye contact is maintained.
Mentally preparing yourself includes rehearsing your questions/answers so you don’t have to think about choosing your words during the interview. Speaking of which, use your words wisely, they can make a lasting impression.
At the executive-level, you will need to display a vision that goes beyond yourself and the company. Your PACE (persistence, attitude, consistency & energy) should be visible throughout the interview process, reflecting in the manner you frame your answers and questions. As a potential leader, you should be able to demonstrate yourself as someone who welcomes change for the better, not just at the personal level, but also at the team and organizational level.
Understanding your true self is also key to nailing the interview, for the things you do in everyday life shape you as a person, and ultimately as a leader. So strive to uncover parts of yourself—good or bad—and enter the process of continuous improvement constantly. As a person who looks beyond the horizon, conflict should act as a stepping stone for you to make amendments and thrive for success!
These were some of our best suggestions that you can use to prepare for your next big opportunity. Keep this guide handy, and we’re sure you are going to nail your next C-Suite interview.