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How to master an interview with the CEO

We speak to many candidates in senior positions that require a helping hand when it comes to building confidence for a big interview. Whether it be with the CEO alone, an executive panel, or a series of executive interviews.  


Luckily there are a number of tips and techniques you can adopt to help you through the process. Read on to find out our five key areas to plan for success. 

1. Preparation 

You don’t need us to tell you the old 90% planning rule... Confidence building starts with proper planning, in how you present yourself as well as having your questions, answers or presentation prepared. Anticipating any questions or obstacles you may face, and preparing responses, will really help you on the day. 
 

2. Research 

It goes without saying you’ll research the company. Drill deep – what is its purpose or vision, who are its stakeholders, how has the company performed, what are its goals? Read annual reports, news reports and research social media. And research the people you will interview with – their background, expertise, even hobbies and interests to help you build rapport. 
 

3. Who are YOU? 

We would only ever put you forward for a role and company that we believe fits your experience, personality and goals. This is important at every level, but arguably more so at the senior end as how you work and what you believe in comes to the fore.  

On top of your accomplishments, your interviewers will want to know what motivates you, how you stay focussed, how you relax, and, most importantly, what your USP is. What do YOU bring to the organisation that no one else can? Click here to read more about building your personal brand
 

4. Questions for you 

Refer to point one.... prepare for questions with detailed answers. It helps if you have a few good examples in your arsenal that could meet a variety of criteria. For example: how have you contributed to revenue? How do you measure ROI? What processes have you implemented? How do you manage your team?  

Be ready to be questioned, debated with, even criticised! At this level dealing with questions, having an opinion and being ready to debate or sell your point of view is expected. 

 

5. Questions for them 

It should be unusual to end any interview without questions – they show your commitment to the role and company. At this level ensure you have the big items nailed – what will your budget be? What is the size of your team currently? Is there room for this to grow if required? What skills are covered within the department? What is the Board’s view of the incumbent department leader and team? You will also want to establish what the company’s goals are and how you can contribute them. Remember an interview is a two-way street, and when seeking a senior role both sides want genuine alignment. 

 

Find out how to develop your personal brand here

Read our seven tips for presenting yourself to the Board here

View our latest jobs here.
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