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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.

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.
 
Just the Basics

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: