interviewing for a senior role – 5 pointers to note

imageIf you’re interviewing for a senior-level position, you will be fairly familiar with the interview process. You know how to walk a recruiter through your resume, describe your strengths and weaknesses, and articulate what makes you interested in the opportunity. At an interview for a leadership role, you will be exchanging information with your interviewer. You have to have the right responses to their questions, you have to have good questions that you’re asking, and you must have the right background. Here are a few tips to help you ace your interview:

demonstrate your industry and company-specific knowledge

Research your target industry - find out what issues and challenges your industry is facing, make sure you are up to date on developments in your industry. Determine who the subject matter experts and key thought leaders are. Research the Company - prepare to intelligently answer questions like - What do you know about our company? Why do you want to work here? You also want to be prepared to ask intelligent questions about the company. Learn about the company’s past performance and future plans so that your interview is interactive. While you will find plenty of information on the company website; do also check LinkedIn, employee reviews on websites like Glassdoor and other sites that crowd source information. If you know the names of your interviewers, do Google them, look up information about them on industry forums and on LinkedIn.

practice your storytelling

Your interviewer will want to assess your domain expertise through competency-based interviewing. Have a few good stories ready that emphasize your key skills, be articulate and use ERH (Example, Result & in Hindsight) technique for answering.” List 20 best achievements from your career and craft a compelling story around each achievement. Read more here about using the ‘STAR’ methodology to do this. Or you could develop career success stories to provide evidence of your brand and value proposition, using the Challenge – Actions – Results (or similar) exercise. Use your practiced stories to deal with behavioral-based questions, such as “Tell me about a time when you . . .” These pointers will help you to reinforce your personal brand throughout the interview. Be sure the interviewer knows what your pivotal strengths, passions, drivers, and personal attributes are.

prepare questions

In-depth questions about the specific role, company or team you are applying to be a part of, always goes down well. Ask questions that are well researched and which lead to follow up questions. This will show that you are great at getting the information that you need to make evidence based executive decisions, and it will give them greater confidence in giving you the autonomy to lead a team. You could ask specific questions about the job and requirements, and ask about their expectations. Craft questions that will give you a sense of the company culture and ethos, and the kind of people you will be working with. Here is a list of questions that you can use as a guide. Senior-level positions may require a deeper level of problem solving and leadership, even as an individual contributor,” explains Melissa Wallace, Talent Acquisition Business Partner at Northrop Grumman, who focuses mainly on engineering and other technical positions. “By putting thought and insight into the questions you ask in an interview, it can convey to the interviewer that you have what it takes to function at the expected level.”

highlight your leadership style

imageCompanies look for leaders who are inclusive, can manage diverse teams, and who can inspire their teams. Leaders build more leaders, they don’t build more followers, so being inclusive, inspiring your team and managing a diverse workforce are very important attributes to demonstrate. Senior level interviewing processes will usually entail a few rounds with people at different levels in the organization and then back to the senior interviewers, for a last discussion. Try and wrap up the process by including ideas or referring to ideas from senior and junior staff who you have met during the interview process. You will put in the interviewer’s mind that you are respectful of all team members, you include them in all thought processes, you are interested in your potential colleagues, and you are a team player

keep your professional references informed

Let your references know who you’re interviewing with and when, inform them when the interviewers are likely to contact them, so that they are prepared to say what you need them to say. Send your references the same personal marketing communications you sent to interviewers (resume, bio, LinkedIn profile, etc.), so they’ll be on the same page. Keep your references in the loop as you move through the hiring process.

plan. prepare. practice.

The candidate who does all her homework is the one who will get the job. A lack of interview preparation is the underlying reason why most, potentially suitable, candidates fail. This preparation sounds like hard work and might take several days, but if you are well prepared you will go into an interview with confidence you will definitely be able to ace it.