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Attending interviews for Senior positions can be extremely challenging. It’s no longer good enough to just talk about your experience in detail – you also need to describe your management style, outline your vision and prove your ability.

Answer the questions

Listen carefully to what your interviewer is asking and spend time planning your answers. Interviewees at executive level have to demonstrate an understanding of a company’s needs and how they can address them. In many cases the role will be a new one, and your interviewer will be assessing why you are the person to fill the void. Look out for cues of what they want and adapt your answers accordingly.

Qualify your answers

At senior level, you need to think less in terms of duties (all the things you have done in your career to date) and more in terms of impact (why your personal traits and niche experience make you the best person for the job). Instead of simply stating that you’re going to improve profitability, retention or employee relations, go into precise detail about how exactly you’d do this. The interviewer already knows about your experience – qualifying your answers is what will really make you stand out from other equally accomplished candidates.

Sell yourself

Even if you have a stellar reputation in your industry, you still need to sell yourself in an interview. Show your enthusiasm for the company and highlight why you would be the perfect fit for the role. C level executives need to have passion to inspire their teams and bring about success. Acting too ‘presidential’ or reserved can isolate your interviewer and negatively affect how you are perceived.

Be amicable

It’s likely that you will be working very closely with the person who is interviewing you so it’s also important to be friendly and develop a rapport. Share your knowledge and insights but resist the urge to challenge your interviewer or question their understanding at any point. Researching your interviewer on LinkedIn is an easy way of finding out about their background and personal interests. Chatting about common passions will help you to get things off to a good start.

Research as much as you can

A mistake some senior professionals make is thinking that they are above research or not making time for it before an interview. Your interviewer will probably ask you about your business goals, strategies, tactics and measures – to answer this effectively you need to have an in-depth understanding of how the business works and what they do. It’s not good enough to just have a quick glance at the company’s website. You should also be aware of recent news stories, successful campaigns, annual reports and what their competitors are doing.

Don’t let your guard down

A lot of senior interviews are conducted outside of the office – relaxed lunches or coffee meetings are commonplace. You may not be in the boardroom but you are still being assessed from the moment you walk into the room. Adhere to the same guidelines you would in a more structured interview – be prepared, dress impeccably, turn off your phone and be polite to everyone you interact with. Don’t be tempted to drink alcohol, even if your interviewer does. They will be taking in everything you say and a couple of glasses of wine could skew your thinking.

To succeed in a leadership position, you need to have a leader’s attitude – this is what your interviewer will be evaluating. Maintain a positive attitude, research the company extensively and be ready to tackle challenging, probing questions about why they should hire you. This will ensure you are one step closer to sealing the deal.

Are you ready for your next interview?


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