Don’t freak out! Even if you haven’t interviewed for a job in years, there are plenty of things you can do to show a potential employer that you are THE best candidate for the job. While the application/hiring process has grown into a more technical event, the way employers interview executive-level candidates has not. Here are a few tips to help you nail the interview and get to the next step – being offered the job!
Get Your Ducks in a Row…
- The HR Manager scheduled the interview, so you know the timeframe you’re working with to be fully prepared to knock their socks off at the interview. Keyword: prepared.
What are Your Ducks…
- Map out your trip to the company and know how long it will take you to get there. If it should take you 20 minutes, allow yourself at least 30. Don’t forget about construction, trains, etc.-if you show up late, the interview will be over before it even started.
- Spend some time researching the company. Know its product, customers, culture, mission, and financials. Being able to speak the company’s language is key in letting the hiring manager know that you really want to be their newest team member. Check out their social media presence as well. If they found you on LinkedIn, then they probably have a company profile set up on the site as well. View it, know it.
- Plan your attire before the day of the interview. Do you need a suit? Or will a tie and dress pants suffice? Leave the dangely jewelry and smelly perfume/cologne at home. You don’t want to set of an asthma attack in the interview room, or even worse make them to have to fumigate the place when you leave-that just would not sit well.
- Practice makes perfect….or at least may help! Review your resume and be able to speak in detail when talking about your career history. Research some common interview questions and be prepared to answer THE big question, “Why should we hire you for this position?” Be prepared to share concrete examples of business you’ve won, sales goals achieved, obstacles that have challenged you, and even things you’ve failed at and how you overcame those failures (just not too many of these…). Do you even know what your selling points are? Bottom line – know your strengths and weaknesses and be able to speak candidly about both during the interview.
- Have your own list of questions for the interview committee, because you know you will be asked if you have any. Try to stick with questions related directly to job/company information and steer clear of asking about salary levels or benefits…save those for after they give you the job offer.
Supporting Documentation to Have on Hand…
- Your Resume: Have enough copies of your resume ready to pass out to the people interviewing you. It is very common to have 4-5+ people interviewing you at the same time for a high-level position.
- References/Recommendations: Have copies of your reference page and any letters of recommendations you have received. You may not be asked for them, but if you are-you will be ready.
- Presentations: In today’s tech-savvy world, it would not be unheard of to have candidates using some type of media presentation to market their skills and expertise. At your level, financial achievements may speak louder than words, so including charts, graphs, etc. would paint a clear picture of the impact you’ve made during your career.
The Big Day is Finally Here…
- Arrive for your interview 10-15 minutes early. Give yourself a quick pep talk in the car, check your teeth for spare remnants of your last meal, dry the sweat from your palms (baby powder works), and head into your interview. As an executive, you are expected to be calm, cool, and collected in any situation.
- Greet the receptionist with a smile and be personable. First impressions are still important.
- Smile when you are introduced to each person on the interview committee and remember, a firm handshake shows confidence.
- Keep your hands on your lap or folded on a table to avoid tapping or appearing jittery. Make eye contact with the person asking you each question and try to look at the entire interview committee a little as you are answering a person’s question.
Preparing for your interview, bringing the right supporting documentation, and showing that you are confident in your abilities while speaking to individual members of the interview committee will help you to show them that they have picked the most qualified and deserving candidate for the job – YOU.