You've come a long way, ascending the job ladder and advancing your career path. You've likely sat through dozens of interviews over the course of your career, but never before for an important, executive level position.
Expect high-level interviews to be prolonged and more rigorous than others you've experienced. After all, few companies take executive leadership lightly. You'll need to come prepared with intimate knowledge of your industry, specific facts about prospective employers and a winner's mindset.
Here are five tips to help you prepare for your first executive level interview:
1. Become a research machine
Executives are expected to have a firm grasp of their sector. Not only should you know where the industry has been in the past and how it's functioning today, but you should also have some educated predictions about where it's going.
"Thoroughly research each prospective employer."
If you've been called in for an executive level interview, you probably already have a wealth of knowledge concerning your business - but now is not the time to rest on your laurels. You should be able to repeat and analyze industry statistics as well as discuss trends.
And that's not all - before your interview, it's time for your best Sherlock Holmes impression. Dig up everything you can about your prospective employer and practice talking about it before the big day. Showing your interest in the company will demonstrate a high level of commitment.
"I would recommend that a candidate takes a deep dive into the company's core values and mission statement and also identifies their own personal core values," notes John Majeski, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Des Moines. "If their personal core values align with the Company's, then it's a great sign that they are on the right track and will be able to make a greater impact with that company in their Executive Position."
Executive level interviews can take a full hour or more, and all of those answers can get jumbled up in the interviewer's memory. Combat this by peppering your answers with relevant statistics and figures. These should come from your prior research.
Numbers work best when your opinion is sought on a business matter. For example, if you're asked about the company's budget, you could start by qualifying your answer with a statistic about the local economy or something similar.
2. Remember to slow down
It's perfectly normal to experience nervousness before an interview - even executives can get stagefright! Being a leader is about controlling your nerves, not eliminating them. As The Balance suggested, do your best to avoid rambling answers.
Before you reply to a question, take a moment to breathe and consider what's really being asked. Then take your time in answering. Rattling off sharp, concise answers may make you seem decisive, but it won't give the interviewer an accurate representation of your thought process. Take your time and answer each question completely.
3. Prepare to negotiate your salary
For previously held positions, you may have only been interviewed once or twice. Expect to be called in multiple times for an executive level position. The further you get, the more leverage you'll have when it comes to negotiating a salary.
Before your interviews, decide on a salary and benefit package you would be comfortable accepting. Allowing for market fluctuations, plan to stick close to your desired figure and be prepared to defend your position.
4. Enlist the help of a recruiter
Professional recruiters can help you prepare for an important interview by practicing questions with you and assisting your research efforts. Just as you pay close attention to your industry of choice, recruiters spend years helping professionals achieve their career goals.
If you've worked long and hard to get to where you are today, consider enlisting the help of a job recruiter to take you to the next level. Executive searches can take weeks or months, and you'll need all the help you can get.
To learn more, check out the recruiting services at Beacon Hill Staffing today!
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