If you make it through preliminary interviews and get the opportunity to sit down with the department’s vice president, you can be fairly confident you're in the running for the position you're seeking. Upper management interviews are typically reserved for the final cream of the crop, so use the opportunity to impress the VP, highlight your skills and abilities, and demonstrate why you're the right candidate for the job.
Even if you feel like a broken record recounting the same work history details over and over again, get ready to play it again -- with a smile -- for the department veep. Don't leave any pertinent details out, thinking, “I’ve already told the hiring manager all this stuff.” Even if the VP has interview notes from her colleagues about things you’ve talked about in previous interviews, the onus is still on you to present yourself to the manager as the full package.
Don’t expect the VP to linger over standard, stage one interview questions about where you went to school and what your last job was like. By the time the final interview is on, it’s time to get serious, and the veep will probably pose “what if” scenarios or use behavioral interviewing techniques. This takes the interview to the next level, with the VP assessing your long-term potential, how well you'll fit in with the existing workplace dynamic, and how you would integrate yourself into the department in short order.
In earlier interviews, you probably just talked in general terms about the responsibilities of the job you’re applying for. The VP is likely to open up a bit more in the final interview and give you an inside look at the department. She might share challenges of the position or give you details about the company's long-term corporate strategy and the role her department will play in the future. This is when you need to move from hypothesizing about how you’d do the job to talking about real ways you see yourself benefiting the company.
Salary and Benefits
If you haven't already talked dollars and cents in previous interviews, the VP will probably be the one to bring up compensation. You may be extended an offer on the spot, or asked what your salary requirements are. Give a range, if pressed, or cite research on the average pay scale for the position. Take into consideration the financial value of benefits and perks like insurance, retirement and profit-sharing. You don't have to make a decision then and there. Request the offer in writing and ask for a few days to mull things over.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.