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3 Ways to Ace Your Executive Level Interview
You received an email from an executive recruiter and the job description was so hard to resist. You were scheduled for an interview within the week. You’re excited, yet very nervous. It’s been a while since you had your last interview. How will you ace your executive-level interview?
Most of the time, we get an advice like you have to rehearse and come up with possible questions and your answer before the interview. You have to look nice. You have to maintain eye contact, so on and so forth. Don’t get me wrong. These are all correct. But it takes more than that to pass this kind of interview.
Here are the 3 stages of the interview process that you have to prepare for and how you can ace it!
- Before the interview:
Once you receive the job description, look at the responsibilities, qualifications and other specifications required for the job. This will help you anticipate the type of questions that the recruiter will ask and at the same time, help you craft appropriate responses to them. Below are the most commonly asked questions that you have to prepare for:
- What are your strengths? Only highlight your strengths that fit the company’s current needs.
- Describe your management style. In this case, the recruiter would like to know how flexible you are in managing different kinds of people. You have to provide examples where you have shown various leadership styles that is called for a certain situation or type of people.
- Why should we hire you? Go back to the first bullet. You have to align your strengths with the needs of the company.
- What is your expected salary? This is one of the most intimidating questions during the interview. You have to be very careful with this one because this is one of the determining agents of the recruitment process. If you ask too high, chances are, they will not consider you for the position. If you ask too low, you are not selling yourself enough. What you can do is to provide details about the salary package based on your research, then give them a range. Or you can ask them about the company’s compensation philosophy and from there, you can discuss about your preferred packages. Again, it would be better if you give them a range than giving them an amount.
There are times when the interviewer will get you off guard by asking situational questions. Whatever the question is, you can rely on this trick – OAR
O – Opportunities/challenges
A – Actions
R – Results
This is the shorter version of the STAR (Situation, Tasks, Action and Results) method, but basically they are the same. You have to start your answer with the opportunities or challenges faced, then present the actions that you took and reveal the results of your action.
You can rehearse with a friend or family member. They can give you an honest feedback about your performance during the mock interview. If you are not comfortable with that, you can take a video of yourself for you to know how you sound or look like and how you can improve that.
Don’t forget to prepare everything the night before and have enough sleep for the day ahead.
- Interview Day:
This is your moment. You have to seize it. Check yourself before you leave. Do you look neat and professional? Check your things. Do you have a pen, IDs and an extra CV? If you feel like there’s something you haven’t done, most likely it is true. So check everything before you walk out of the door!
It is advisable to arrive 15-30 minutes before the interview. If you’re travelling from a location that usually has heavy traffic, then you have to travel early. You don’t around the streets just to make it to your interview. This is stressful for you and will greatly affect your interview.
Some interviews are done via Skype. In that case, you have to clean up. Avoid any clutter in your background. A white wall would be ideal. Dress up as you would during face-to-face interviews. Log-in 30 minutes before the scheduled interview to check your mic and headset. Do a test drive by calling a friend using Skype to check the stability of your internet connection.
Going back to the face-to-face interview, greet the receptionist when you arrive. The receptionist is, as some would call it, the first line of defense of every organization. Being an executive-level professional doesn’t entitle you to belittle them. If you are not nice to them, most likely, they will inform the HR Manager about it and they already have a bad impression about you.
So walk in with a smile, chin up and shoulders back. Shake the interviewer’s hand firmly. Don’t sit unless you are asked. Sit on a chair with a hardback. Once seated, do not slouch and do not cross your legs. Nod your head to show that you’re listening. Call the interviewer by name during the interview. If you don’t understand the question, don’t hesitate to ask for clarifications. Do not speak negatively about your previous employer even if you’re asked to do so. These are some of the little things that many people keep on forgetting, but they should do.
At the end of the interview, don’t forget to ask relevant questions you might have about the job. Thank them for their time and ask for the next steps. This will show your eagerness and interest in the job.
- Post Interview:
Once you get home, take note of the questions that you felt like you did not adequately answer. Then, compose a thank you note. Incorporate into your email the additional information about the questions asked during the interview and tell them for the last time how interested you are in the role. If you are going to follow-up, you can do that ideally a week after the interview and make sure that your emails are polite, courteous yet assertive. Most of the time, the job goes to the person who really wants it the most.
Do you have additional tips on how to ace an executive-level interview? Let us know by posting your comments below.