The hunt for an executive job can be tough. Many qualified, impressive candidates are competing for the same position. And many times, these candidates may all have extensive interviewing experience from their long careers. In fact, they've probably interviewed people themselves and know exactly what to do. Standing out from this type of crowd can be difficult but definitely not impossible.
When you're competing with other executives for a job, the first impression you make can be crucial. Interviewers will likely judge your personality and intelligence based on how you present yourself in the first 30 seconds of your interview. Walk into the interview with confidence, with your head held high, making eye contact and having a firm handshake. Confidence is especially vital when you're going to be managing other people. Speak clearly and slowly. Don't carry too much with you so you don't appear clumsy or cluttered. You might even record yourself in a mock interview so you can watch yourself and objectively see how you appear to others.
Most people love to talk about themselves. This can be especially true for executives, who have a long list of accomplishments and a long work history to share. But if you talk too much or try to sell yourself too hard, your interviewer might leave thinking that you don't have good listening skills. Instead, listen carefully to every question you're asked, rephrase the question to show you understand it or ask for clarification if you need to. Then, keep your answers short and concise while still relaying all the essential information.
Turn Negatives into Positives
Even when interviewing you for an executive position, your interviewer will ask about projects that failed or weaknesses in your resume. When you have a longer job history, you'll likely have more to choose from. Don't shift the blame on a failed project. Instead, describe how you corrected the problem later and what you learned from the project that you carried forward to future assignments. If asked about your biggest flaw, don't just say that you aren't skilled in an area and are learning it. Instead, talk about steps you're taking to correct a weakness, such as enrolling in a public speaking program.
Research Pain Points
Most serious job candidates research the company that's interviewing them. To stand out from other executives, make your research unique. Look for areas where the company needs improvement and which fall into your realm of expertise. These might include changes to the website that will help growth, new software acquisitions, public relations tactics or anything else you'd be responsible for. Don't act cocky about your findings, though. Just briefly present the information as friendly advice. This demonstrates your expertise and shows that you're proactive and concerned about the company's success.
With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.