How To Boss Your First Executive Interview

After working in middle management for some time, you’ll gradually begin to eye up your first executive position. After a lengthy and detailed search, the chance finally comes along for an executive position with your name on it. However, moving up to executive level demands more than just commercial acumen; it also calls for a strong dose of confidence. After all, you must demonstrate your ability to guide an entire team toward success.

“[Companies] are looking to hire someone who can get the job done,” says Rita Ashley, a Medford, Oregon-based executive coach for technology executives. “That confidence is the most important asset you have.”

Follow the below tips and walk into your first executive interview like you already belong.

Do Your Research

Like with any interview, you want to learn as much as you can about the business and the individuals you will be speaking with. Your confidence is built on the knowledge you have.

This kind of investigation is required for an executive job search, and it must go beyond a general understanding of the business. According to Eileen Finn, president of New York City-based Eileen Finn & Associates, a boutique executive search agency with a specialist expertise in human resources, you should be aware of the company’s financial status, the difficulties it is facing, and the backgrounds of its management team.

Look for SEC filings and public financial statements if the company is publicly traded. Even for privately held businesses, reading press releases and company-related stories in the local or industry business journal may provide you with a wealth of information.

Then conduct the same financial study once more, this time concentrating on the company’s major rivals. Where does the business outperform its rivals? What is lacking in it? What new goods or services are the rivals preparing to provide in the near future, and how might this impact the market?

Talking about these topics in your interview will demonstrate both your expert knowledge and your curiosity, which will signal to the hiring manager that you are the type of person that thinks forward.

With this extensive knowledge at your disposal, you may make some incisive, probing inquiries of your own, which slightly shifts the balance of power back in your favour and boosts your confidence.

Demonstrate Your Results-Led Leadership Style

Interviewers at the executive level are seeking evidence that you can achieve quantifiable results for the entire organisation and that your leadership style fits the culture. Your argument that you are prepared to advance into the executive ranks will be strengthened if you are able to clearly express your leadership philosophy and support those broad concepts with concrete examples.

Be prepared for interview questions that ask about your management style and the kind of vision you have for the business and your team. Be prepared to give examples of your thought process, your organisational style, and your leadership style, advises Finn.

What was the hardest lesson you had to learn as a manager? Is a typical interview question for CEOs. Your response should outline a challenging circumstance you encountered, how you handled it, and how it affected your leadership style and practises moving forward.

Do not let your confidence be shaken if you are asked how you would respond to a circumstance that you are unfamiliar with. Instead, mention your overall leadership philosophy and describe how you would use it to approach that hypothetical situation in order to come up with a workable solution.

“That’s where the confidence comes from—knowing you have what it takes to be successful in that job,” Finn says.

Perfect Your Executive Presence

Throughout your executive job hunt, you could have had butterflies in your stomach, but the last thing you want to do is show that at the interview. Leaders must come across as largely unflappable. Fortunately, you may convey your confidence through your dress-code, conversation, and body language.

According to executive coach Leonard Lang of Minneapolis-based Beard Avenue Career Coaching, you should practise a series of “power poses” before the interview to make your body appear larger and take up more space.

According to him, some positions, like placing your hands behind your head with your elbows out or striking the “winning pose” while standing with your arms raised, can actually have a biochemical impact on your attitude and confidence.

However, he advises against striking certain stances during the interview and advises against adopting an angled or slouched posture since they convey the wrong messages to your body and others around you. Instead, adopt a comfortable but focused stance to appear both professional and personable.

The speaking voice is another significant barrier for some. Ita Olsen, a speech and communication coach headquartered in Malibu, California, claims that job interviews make individuals anxious. The vocal systems of “[nervous candidates] literally clench, producing a pitch that is extremely high and a voice that is very thin.”

Slow down; it will help you and the people listening if you can unwind and give yourself some breathing room. Olsen claims that when you speak too quickly and without pausing, the interviewer finds it difficult to follow you. Your listeners are in the past, while you are in the future. Everyone stays in the present when they take a breath.