Are you looking at improving your executive career, jumping onto the C-level ladder or climbing it further? You may be in the recruitment process already, with your CV in circulation, maybe with an interview or two lined up! Today we look at how to prepare yourself for that interview. Executive career coaching may help, but here’s what YOU can do.
Research, and not just the company
Be informed – about the company, who you will be meeting with, and who these individuals are. So, ask your recruiter or HR who will be at your interview. Research who these key players are, what roles they play, how they may impact on your new role, how you may impact on theirs. Get onto the internet, research the company website, see what the press has had to say. And, remember key points, so that you arrive knowledgeable and confident in your interview.
The three P’s: plan, practise & prepare
Plan for your interview. Therefore, research and rehearse. Ensure that you’ve understood the job description correctly. This will avoid surprises and aid in planning for realistic scenarios. Research typical interview questions, consider your answers and practise these. Depending on the question stick to that which can be measured. Know what your achievements are and be ready to answer that question with percentages, numbers, data. Consider your strengths, your weaknesses – practise for that question. It’s sure to come up! Lastly, prepare to face odd, and sometimes personal questions. This should not happen in today’s world, but it does.
As part of your preparation, consider your interview outfit. What is the company culture? Dress for that, but dress it up, be professional.
You’ve arrived – but can you be trusted?
Research shows that first impressions are made within 7 seconds! Further studies conducted by Harvard Business School psychologist, Amy Cuddy, show that trust trumps competence. Within that first encounter, we subconsciously consider two questions, and those are whether the person we’ve just met is capable and whether he/she has good intentions, therefore ‘can I trust this person?’ Make use of those crucial first few seconds, and, with that, bring authenticity to the meeting! People employ people they like.
First things first, turn your phone to silent, preferably before the interview, and put it away! Away, away – therefore not on the interview table. In your interview, show professionalism and willingness, be adaptive, be honest! Show good listening skills, and ask questions! Even if the interview did not raise any questions for you, have one or two pre-practised questions in your back pocket; it helps to look enthusiastic and interested! Remember, this is not a one-way interview.
Be professional, polite and kind to EVERYONE, from the security at the front door to the receptionist, to those you encounter in the corridor. It is not unusual for interviewers to inquire about first impressions from other staff members. When you walk out the door, people talk!