Mastering the Art of Executive Interviews

InterviewingSuccess Strategies

Mastery Requires Next Level Preparation

Executive interviews require a different level of preparation and finesse compared to other job interviews.

Executives are expected to demonstrate their leadership abilities, strategic thinking, strong ROI, and ability to drive organizational success.

You know you can do everything the company is asking but how do relay those things in an interview?

We work with so many smart and accomplished executives who struggle with knowing what to focus on in the interview (or not).

Here are a few key things companies look for when interviewing executives:

Showcasing Leadership Skills:

  • Prepare examples that demonstrate your ability to lead teams, make tough decisions, and solve complex problems.**Have stories ready. People love stories and can relate to or visualize what happened.
  • Highlight your experience in driving strategic initiatives and achieving business objectives.
  • Emphasize your ability to inspire and motivate others, and your track record of building high-performing teams.

Executives are expected to demonstrate their leadership abilities, strategic thinking, strong ROI, and ability to drive organizational success.

Handling Tough Interview Questions:

    • Practice answering common executive-level interview questions, such as those related to leadership style, conflict resolution, and decision-making.
    • Be prepared to discuss challenging situations you have faced and how you effectively handled them.
    • Use the STAR or CAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses and provide concrete examples.**We use the CAR method to gather information for resumes. They help build a story and provide deeper insight into the way YOU do things.

Researching the Company and Industry:

    • Thoroughly research the company, its mission, values, recent news, and industry trends.**Know the company. Know what they do/sell/build, etc. Know their financials. Know their pain points.
    • Understand the challenges and opportunities the company is facing, and how your skills and experience can contribute to its success.
    • Prepare thoughtful questions to ask during the interview that demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the organization.
    • Identify someone who works there on LinkedIn (having an ‘in’ helps) and after your intro, ask them if you can chat about the company.

Demonstrating Strategic Thinking:

    • Highlight your ability to think strategically and provide examples of how you have contributed to long-term organizational goals.
    • Showcase your understanding of market trends, competition, and industry challenges.
    • Discuss how you have developed and implemented strategic initiatives to drive business growth and profitability.**Give a detailed step-by-step if they are interested in one.

Communicating Your Leadership Style:

    • Clearly articulate your leadership philosophy and how it aligns with the organization’s values and culture. You know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to leading.
    • Share stories that illustrate your leadership style and how it has positively influenced teams and achieved results.**Again, stories have amazing power.
    • Emphasize your ability to inspire, motivate, and empower others to excel.

Addressing Cultural Fit:

    • Research the company’s culture, values, and leadership style.**This is important and will give you an idea of the company and how they deal with each other.
    • Align your responses with the organization’s culture and demonstrate how you would be a good fit.
    • Discuss your experience in leading diverse teams and fostering an inclusive work environment.

You are already equipped with what they need. Practice with a colleague or friend. It will be easier than you think.


5 Resume Hacks for 2020 Job Seekers

Guest PostsJob Search

Finding that first job after graduating or starting a career change can be one of life’s greatest challenges. Getting a solid job in the industry you want to work in, however, can open doors to success that lasts a lifetime. That makes landing a strategic job worth all the effort you put into it.

That effort starts with your resume. Putting together your resume, whether it’s your first time or just the first time in years, can feel daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be. With a few clever tips, tricks, and savvy hacks, your resume will communicate your talent and experience clearly to all potential employers.

Get ready to wow at your next job interview with these 7 simple hacks that you can use on your resume today.

The structure should depend on the stage of your career

First, it’s important to think about the overall structure of your resume. Where should each section go — what sections should you have in the first place? First, it’s a good idea to make a distinction between an early career resume and a mid- or late-career resume.

What’s the difference? In an early career resume, you probably don’t have too much work experience to brag about. If you do, good for you, you busybody! Either way, it’s likely that the most impressive achievement you have accomplished so far is your schooling. Whether that’s an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s degree, or technical schooling certification, if you’re looking for your first job, it’s smart to put your degrees or certificates first on your resume.

  • Takeaway: if you’re early in your career, your resume should lead with an Education section.

Those whose school days are long behind them, and who have been working in the career world for some time (maybe 7 years or more) should think about leading with their job experience. It’s likely that you have spent a good amount of time seriously developing your leadership, communication, management, and teamworking skills while on the job by that point in your career. Sure, your schooling is pretty impressive, but employers will want to know what you’ve done since you graduated.

  • Takeaway: if you’re in your mid-to-late career, think about putting your Work Experience first, then your education later.

Once you’ve settled on the order of the general sections, it’s time to think more specifically about how you’ll lay out your work and schooling experiences.

Make sure your resume tells a story — chronologically

Employers reviewing applications often don’t have a ton of time on their hands to sort out confusingly laid-out resumes, so one way you can make it easy for them (and give yourself a more comprehensive look) is by laying out your resume chronologically.

In each section, Education and Work Experience, be sure to lead with your most recent position. Employers are probably more interested in your work managing a team of programmers for five years than the internship you had as an undergrad.

Once you’ve correctly laid out each section chronologically, it’s time to think about the story that your resume tells. Remember, that reviewer is on the clock, and you want to communicate to them as concisely and effectively as possible what value your experience and education will bring to their company.

  • Pro tip: 

If you’re applying to jobs in a few different industries, consider having different resumes for each one. You may have a variety of experience that’s relevant more to one industry than another, and your resume is your chance to highlight that.

Depending on the type of job you’re applying to, it’s okay to spin each position you worked for to best match that role. The truth is that, in most jobs, you’re likely performing a variety of responsibilities, so it’s totally okay to highlight the aspects of your past work that tells the most coherent and engaging story about your schooling and work experience so far. That brings us to our next tip.

Always highlight achievements from past experiences

Your resume is your highlight reel. You want potential employers to see clearly and quickly how you will add value to their company or organization. When crafting each entry describing past work experience, it’s likely not worth it to list out everything that you did at each job. Sure, it’s great that you can answer emails or do the basics of what your past jobs required of you, but that’s not the stuff that will set you apart from everyone else in the pile of resumes.

So, rather than simply describing the duties of your past jobs under each entry, list 2 to 4 noteworthy accomplishments you made while working there. Perhaps you solved a really tricky programming puzzle that no one else on your team could. Or maybe you wrote an article that brought more views to your site than any other for months. Maybe you were able to settle a difficult disagreement among coworkers and got your team back on track. Whatever it is, highlight it on your resume; it makes it clear how much value you can contribute to your new workplace.

Devote a section specifically to your skills

Next, it’s a smart idea to create a section for your skills. The way you decide to incorporate it design wise (more on that below) is up to you, but commonly, people have a box that lists their skills toward the bottom of the resume, or along the side.

Skills are concrete abilities you have that you will be able to start using the day you step into your new role. Maybe it’s web design, or using engineering software, or writing search engine optimized marketing copy. Whatever it is, employers want to know if you have the skills for the job. Your skills section is the place to make that completely clear.

Get creative with design, but keep it professional

Resumes have advanced beyond the classic Word document in Times New Roman font. Sure, for some employers (think law firms or accounting agencies), that’s still the gold standard. However, for many employers, having a creative resume with beautifully designed elements is a great way to stand out.

Luckily, there are plenty of free or inexpensive templates available online. So, even if you’re not a professional graphic designer, you can still have a gorgeously designed resume, laid out perfectly to draw potential employers’ attention directly to the parts of your experience you most want to highlight.

Resume design and layout isn’t an exact science, but by having the right structure and content, you increase your chances of landing that dream job you’ve always wanted.

At the end of the day, writing a resume can still be a daunting task. Trying to write objectively about yourself can be difficult. If you need help in crafting that resume to sell yourself to a potential employer, you may want to consider hiring a professional resume writer who has years of experience developing resumes to highlight all your achievements and skills.

Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the managing editor for She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.

Two Ways To Enhance Any Career

Career & Workplace

two ways to enhance any career
Did you know that anybody can enhance their life, and thus their career, by improving some simple, basic skills? Once you have a handle on these skills, there’s no telling what can happen but you have to apply them consistently: everybody needs to learn how to learn and learn how to teach.

Learn How To Learn

Learning is essentially acknowledging that you don’t know everything and being open to expanding your horizons.

  • What are you reading? If you don’t read, start slow and it will get better quickly.
  • If you are always reading a novel, try reading some non-fiction regularly.
  • If you never do fiction, start with some short stories and work up.
  • Take a class in something that appeals and intimidates you.
  • Play games on  your phone or computer that are not in your comfort zone, like words for a math whiz and numbers for the linguist.
  • Learn how to use your hands or your body a different way, like dancing or knitting or soccer or anything fun.

I bet you thought I’d be telling you to work on a career skill, and that certainly is a good idea. But for many of us, we need to start developing the ability to learn first. When you start with what you like and stretch your mind a little bit, you are learning how to learn.

Learn How To Teach

Teaching is not being a windbag standing in front of suffering students and talking to hear themselves. Good teachers listen to their students and try to understand how they perceive things so the facts being communicated get through to the brain. A teacher needs to have a good grasp of the subject in order to explain it effectively.

  • Offer to explain something you are good at to a friend who wants to know how.
  • Show a newbie some tips about a skill you have.
  • Write instructions just to see if they make sense when you follow them.
  • Improve your writing skills so you can communicate better.
  • Rewrite things that are confusing to make the meaning clearer.
  • Research the styles of learning and figure out how to explain to each style.

The truth is that we all teach, whether we realize it or not. The goal is to be a teacher of good, helpful things who passes on all you have learned. When a person continually is learning, and is also continually sharing their knowledge, it completes the circle of intelligent growth. It also keeps you in a positive stance for whatever your career is doing and enhances any job.

How To Derail Your Job Search

Executive ResumesJob Search

how to derail your executive job search
Why does career derailment happen? Most of the time, it’s the same sort of thing that derails an executive job search; something you thought was unimportant trips you up and leaves you behind in the race. Some of the problem is in the details of what you did, and some of it is your attitude.

Little Details Can Be Big Mistakes

Being disorganized can result in missing something important, and we all do it to some extent. But when the important thing you missed costs you an interview or a promotion, it hurts. Here are a few places where this happens:

  • Application mistakes can get your submission rejected by a computer before a person sees it.
  • Resume mistakes give the impression that you are careless.
  • References can get you the job or get you out of the running if your references aren’t appropriate.
  • Disheveled, dirty clothing makes you look like you can’t even do laundry right.
  • Online behavior lives forever and can return to haunt you.

Attitudes Can Be Hinderances

When you look at a news story about someone’s career derailment, pay attention to how attitude factored into their fall. Attitudes change your workplace and have a direct relationship to the way you get along with co-workers. When you make mistakes — and we all will make mistakes sometimes — the relationships you have with the people you work with often change the consequences of those mistakes.
In an executive job search, the way you relate to people is incredibly important because an executive position requires the ability to collaborate and build a team. People who are insensitive, manipulative, and easily angered don’t make good leaders. People who are considerate, encouraging, and stay focused on the mission instead of the problems do.
The way you work with people now is seen as an indicator of the way you will work with people in the new position.

Hope Is Not Lost

One last point that can be made about avoiding a career derailment: learn from your mistakes and do what you can to fix them. This gives you an answer when it comes up in an interview and shows you have one of the most important assets for being a successful executive: the ability to turn a negative into a positive. Overlooking details and ignoring bad attitudes can keep you out of an executive position, but fixing the problems can boost your chances of getting there.

How To Hone Your Interview Skills


how to hone your interview skills
An interview can be a very intimidating experience if you have never had one or have not been hired after the last one or two you endured. Fear of failure can be overcome, though, with some practical strategies for success.

  • Do some research — read up on interviewing skills and make notes on what you learn. Google “interview skills” and see if there is more to add. Write down where you think you missed the mark, or what worries you. Ask the person who interviewed you where you could improve and if you could be considered for future positions. Be honest with yourself; now is the time to look in the mirror and be accurate, not idealistic.
  • Get some help — your list is where you start. Do you know anyone who can give you a few practice interviews? Are you acquainted with any managers or employers? Think about parents of friends, family members, etc.  Ask them to look at your list and give you an idea about improving things.
  • Look for community offerings — libraries, community colleges, government agencies may have opportunities to attend workshops or use their computers to find information.
  • Record yourself introducing yourself — and don’t hit delete when you watch it the first time. Is the list you came up with accurate? What should you add? What were you surprised to see you do when you talk? Practice a bit then record yourself again.
  • Practice speaking in front of people — and expect to make mistakes. We all do!
  • Practice looking at people when you talk to them — if this makes you uncomfortable, start slow and look at their nose or eyebrow. I’m not talking about an unbroken stare, but you should look at the person you are speaking with frequently.
  • Practice listening to people — an interview is a conversation to see if you will fit into the workforce already in place. If all you are doing is waiting for the interviewer to stop so you can hit the talk button, you are not paying attention and you probably will not fit in.

Knowing what to expect and preparing for it will give you confidence. Knowing job rejection can be good helps. So does seeing FAIL as an acronym for First Attempt In Learning.  Hone your skills and keep at it, because that’s how you get better.

Your Executive Resume Is Your Calling Card

Executive ResumesResume Writing

work from home resume
When you are distributing resumes your ultimate goal is to get the job. A job as a high power executive. In order to get a job you need to get an interview and in order to get an interview your potential employers need to be able to contact you. This is where your executive resume comes in.
Your resume needs to have your name, address, email, and phone number at the very top of your resume in the heading. These will be the main forms of communication that an employer will use to contact you. If these are not clear on your  resume then you may have lost the job already. Some people leave it off for confidentiality reasons, but I think that could be a mistake. To some recruiters or hiring managers, it seems suspicious.
In this day there are some additional ways that an employer can contact you and judge you as an appropriate candidate for the position. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are popular ways for employers to check up on there potential employees. In order to ensure they are really checking up on you and not someone with the same name you should put your profile names in a separate section on your executive resume. If you have a personal website, then put the URL on your resume as well. Make sure your online profiles are cleaned up and professional. Even top executives get turned down due to less than appropriate profile pics or posts.
Your executive resume is all your potential employers have and you need to ensure that they are able to get a hold of you. Your executive resume is your calling card and if you do not have the correct information present, then you will lose the job opportunity and you won’t reach that ultimate goal you have been striving for: getting a job that is worthwhile.

Why You Should Always Be Hunting For A New Job

Job Search

Why You Should Always Be Hunting For A New Job
Common wisdom suggests that when you have found a new job you quit hunting for a new one. This is a mistake that the vast majority of professionals make and it’s one that is typically detrimental to their careers. Constantly looking for new opportunities not only keeps you current with what positions are available, it also keeps you fresh in your current position.
Continuing to search for a new position isn’t necessarily an active pursuit. When you are reasonably happy in your current position and not really looking to change either your career or your employer, job search takes on a more passive role. Much of what you do during an active job search is ignored, such as cold calling, applications and interviewing. In a passive job search you keep your resume updated and you occasionally examine what is open in your field.
Networking is still a part of a passive job search, but instead of looking for a new job you are looking for contacts. Meetings, seminars and various network gatherings can be a fun way to meet new people as well as stay current in what your field is offering to new job candidates. It’s also a way to stay current on new trends in your area of expertise as well as current salary ranges; this can be helpful during your next salary negotiation or promotion meeting.
Staying in the hunt for a new job also means that you are ready to hit the ground running should you suddenly need to make your passive search an active one. In an uncertain world it’s good to have this in your career arsenal.

Tips for Executives: Finding Jobs the Right Way

BlogExecutive ResumesJob SearchNetworkingResume Writing

One of the biggest mistakes that an executive could make while looking for a position is treating their job search as if they were still a manager. When you reach the level of an executive, you’ve entered into another world, so you have to treat your job search just like that. This means focusing on different inroads to success and applying cutting-edge search techniques.
If you’re coming into the world of an executive and want to know how to make your job search easier, don’t just sit back without reviewing every avenue possible. Try using every path to your advantage, it’s no doubt that you’ve made friends along the way, that’s just one area for you to search. These tips will help you find the right job for you.
Begin with Networking
It has been shown that over 80 percent of executives got their current job through one form of networking. Executive jobs are not like lower-level jobs which can be easily filled through online applications. Executives meet through social clubs, business meetings and professional routes. You could easily run into someone who knows the vice president of ABC Corporation and be the person they were looking to hire. Don’t ever forget the value of networking, the more you get your face out there, the better off you will be. If you don’t focus on networking, you could be missing out on a lot of great job opportunities.
Make the Most out of Social Media
LinkedIn is the number one job networking and search site on the web, so set up an account (if you haven’t already), because it’s incredible important that you make the most out of social media. Just setting up an account is not enough- you have to make yourself be known. By just focusing your LinkedIn profile on your resume, you’re missing out on many of the site’s benefits.
Your profile allows you to not only highlight your past professional and education history, it also allows you the opportunity to network and make connections with other executives in your field. Networking with other professionals gives you an opportunity to find new positions or to develop professional recommendations. Through recommendations from the right executives, you can transform your LinkedIn profile into an online resume that sells. Never take for granted the power of the web, many partnerships and employment opportunities have been built on the backs of social media sites.
Your Name and Reputation are Important
When you become an executive, you take on a burden of work that is different than the average worker – so you have to outperform the average worker. You have to care more about the company’s overall success because it will directly reflect your business acumen. If you don’t maintain a stellar reputation, it could affect your job search and your ability to find the right position. This means avoiding the silly Facebook page. You’re being judged on your actions, as well as the people you associate yourself with. Make sure your name and your reputation are held in high regard.