Job interviews can be nerve wracking at all levels, but interviews for senior management jobs can be particularly challenging, often requiring a deeper level of insight and preparation. Here at Excel Recruitment, our consultants interview candidates for senior positions right up to CEO every day and understand fully exactly what our clients are looking for. Below are some of our consultants’ top tips to succeed.
Don’t rest on your experience
When it comes to interviewing for senior positions, it won’t be enough to just take the interviewer through your experience and skills. You should leave the interviewer with no doubt about what you can add to the company you’re applying for. Outline your plan for yourself and the business when you get the job and the positive contribution you would make, whether that taking steps to fix a current problem, troubleshoot against a future one or simply improve on what the business is already doing well. Which leads us nicely to our next tip……
Do your research really, really well
‘Research the company’ is one of the most obvious, and important, interview tips around and for good reason. But the higher up the food chain you go, the more prep is required. Knowing the basics won’t land you a senior management job, you will have to delve further into the business’ goals, culture, strengths and weaknesses. Then when you’re in the interview, use this knowledge to your advantage by explaining how you and your skills will fit into and improve the business. You should also be aware of recent news stories, successful campaigns, annual reports and what their competitors are doing.
Chances are, if you’ve been invited to interview for a significant senior position the hiring manager has already deemed your experience suitable for the role. Often the purpose of the interview is not to discuss what you did, but how you did it. The personality fit is a crucial part of the success/failure of any new hire and one companies’ will but the time and effort into getting right. Get your personality across and build a rapport with your interviewer, getting across to them how well you get on with people and how this helps you manage people.
Know what you want
Before you even get to the interview stage, have it clear it your own head why you want the job. A job interviewer will want to know that you’re passionate about the company and their work and that you really want the job. Be prepared to discuss your ambitions and goals, along with your reasons for wanting a move. Think about why this company in particular would be a good fit for you, and you for them, and get these reasons across to your potential employer. Be clear on these before you go, and when you get there, be sure to ask questions as well as answer them.
Remember it’s an interview
Even if you’re a fantastic candidate with tonnes of experience, loads of awards and a stellar reputation in your field, this is still a job interview and you still need to sell yourself as the best candidate to the job. Rather than regurgitating broad, bland platitudes about your achievements, be prepared with a couple of real-life examples of your successes in previous roles e.g. “In my previous role, we had a problem with X, so I decided to do X and as a result X was improved and the issue was resolved.”
And finally, no matter how casual the interview setting or how senior a candidate you are remember the basics- dress well, be on time, and be nice to everyone you meet there. Follow all our above steps, and you’ll be one step closer to your dream job.