When interviewing for a decision-making position, the right preparation is indispensable. Usually, you will need to provide more in-depth answers than for management or director-level opportunities. One of the most valued qualities that employers look for is a candidate’s aptitude to establish a strategic perspective, closely shadowed by his or her business acumen, and a comprehensive viewpoint. Make sure you offer sufficient confirmation that you can bring all of this and more to the table during a C-level interview.
Frequently senior executives underperform in interviews by overstating their career history and development, rather than concentrating on the influence they have had on organizations and the lessons that they have learned. To deliver your worth as a potential leader, communicate your management style, organizational vision, principles, and ethics. It is important to stress the “soft” skills, counting your emotional intelligence and leadership style.
Be prepared to dig deep into your capabilities – don’t keep the conversation purely at surface level. Offer examples of both your successes, as well as of times when you have failed. When talking about negative experiences, highlight what you have learned, what in retrospection you could have done better, and how the experience has strengthened and rounded out your leadership aptitudes. Most employers want to hire individuals with the potential to grow with the organization and take on bigger challenges in the future. They look for evidence of an executive’s “learning agility” – how well he or she can cope with and learn from challenging circumstances and apply that newfound knowledge to future endeavors.
A tool often used in executive interviews is the behavioral competency technique. The behavioral interview focuses on discovering how an applicant acted in specific employment-related situations. You will be asked questions along the lines of:
• Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem.
• Give an example of a goal you reached and tell me how you achieved it.
• Give an example of a goal you didn’t meet and how you handled it.
• Describe a stressful situation at work and how you handled it.
• Give me a couple of examples about you “in action.”
And of course, do your homework on the company you are interviewing with. Outside of knowing the company overview and history, products and services, and main competitors, use Social Media as well as your personal network to find who the key decision makers are. Research the current financial situation. Try to learn and understand the challenges they are currently facing within the company. Most importantly, use this information to be able toshow how you can add value where it is most needed.