Executive-Level Interview: How to Prepare & Win Your Dream Job
Are you looking to brush up on your executive-level interview skills? If it’s been a while since you’ve been on the other side of the desk, these executive interview tips will set you up for success.
How will you make a knockout first impression and position yourself as the perfect fit for the role? Knowing how to ace an interview is one of the most critical job search skills you can master.
Preparing for your executive-level interview
Do your research
It may seem obvious but doing your research and digging deep makes a difference. Taking the time to learn as much as you can about the industry, company, and interviewer demonstrates that you are serious about the job. It will also make you feel more confident about potential issues you’ll discuss during the interview.
- What is about this company that stands out?
- Are they having any specific issues right now?
- What skills and experience do they value?
- Who are the key players of the organization?
- What is the company culture?
- Who is conducting my interview, and what are their key accomplishments?
Prepare your answers
When prepping for your executive-level interview, it is a good idea to practice how you will answer common questions. Brainstorm a list of questions you expect they will ask, and prepare and practice your answers. (Yes, this includes any tough questions you hope they don’t ask, like job transitions or gaps in employment).
Create a list of questions
While some things may come up during the interview, it’s a good idea to have a few solid questions going in. Great questions can make you stand out from other applicants. Aim for open-ended questions to get a conversation going.
Possible questions to ask:
- How is success measured in this role?
- How will the first 3-6 months look?
- Which skills would you consider to be most important for this position?
Be prepared to be virtual
Since the pandemic began, over 86% of recruiters are conducting virtual interviews. It’s best to do a test to make sure your equipment is ready to go. Is your camera lens clean, and do you have proper lighting? Is your background distraction-free? Set up your space to make sure you look your best.
Acing Your Executive Interview
Deliver a confident introduction
Making a great first impression sets the tone for the interview. How can you instantly engage the interviewer? Consider asking them a question that shows you have done company research, or lead with an opening remark that makes a personal connection.
Show, rather than tell
Have specific examples with metrics to prove the results you have achieved for other employers. Numbers speak and can help this potential employer envision you getting the same results for them.
Paint yourself into the picture
How can you get them to picture a future with you? While you want to display your past work experience and accomplishments, you also want to get them to imagine what you can do for them.
How can you demonstrate critical thinking about their current issues? Can you provide insights into problems and how you would overcome them?
Make a connection
At an executive-level interview, employers aren’t just thinking, “can this person do the job?” They also want to see how you fit into the company culture. Will you be a good fit within the existing executive team?
Let your personality shine through. What do you have in common with the interviewer? How can you show excitement for your work and the company?
Using a storytelling format when sharing your accomplishments is much more engaging than stating facts.
Consider the STAR method.
Situation – Set the scene.
Task – Define the job or problem.
Action – Describe the specific action you took.
Result – Share your outcome (with specific metrics).
Reference previous chats
If you are on the second or third round of interviews, and a similar conversation pops up, you could say something like, “Lisa made a great point when we chatted. I agree with her views on…..”
This shows that you were engaged in previous conversations and positions you as a team player (and it gives them an idea of how you would fit into the team).
Think of your executive-level interview as a two-way street. Do your research, prepare for tough questions, aim to make a personal connection, and you’ll show you’re the missing piece of the puzzle! They are interviewing you, but you also need to decide if this company is a good fit.
For more tips on acing your interview, check out my E-book How to Prepare for an Employment Interview.