Companies prefer hiring successful, articulate, and competent executives, although the initial encounter between a candidate and the company usually puts the candidate in a highly stressful and uncomfortable situation, which is the interview.
The truth is that you need to deal with the process of hiring as it’s currently constituted. To achieve that, you need to learn how to manage and control your interviews comfortably.
The following are 5 key strategies for helping you ace your interviews.
In this article:
Sell Yourself, Don’t Simply State What You Have Done
Interviews provide the ideal platform for selling your accomplishments and not just stating what you have done. For instance, if you are asked about the number of people you managed in your previous position, you might be tempted to quickly reply. “I managed a team of 40.”
However, a much stronger response would be:
“My staff at FedEx included 40 professionals and support personnel. I was not only responsible for managing those individuals, but also directed all hiring and recruitment activities, designed bonus plans, set salaries, facilitated the annual review process, and projected the long-term staffing requirements. My team even managed to increase the annual sales by over 35 percent within just a year.”
The lesson here is that you should always quantify any achievements.
Turn Your Negatives into Positives
What should you do when the interviewer asks about your experience working with Excel spreadsheets and you don’t have any? Instead of saying that you don’t know excel, you should use related experiences to show that you have some relevant knowledge.
For instance, your response could be:
“I have extensive experience designing spreadsheets on Lotus, so I am confident that it wouldn’t take too much time to get a handle on Excel.”
If you do that, you will have been honest, but you would still have positioned yourself and your knowledge in a positive way. Get familiar with turning your weaknesses into strengths.
Employ the Big-to-Little Strategy
If somebody asks about your experience with acquisitions and mergers, you can employ the big-to-little strategy to organize your thoughts, respond in a seamless manner, and make it easy for the interviewer to understand your specific experience. Start off big, with an overview of your experience in M&A transactions.
Next, follow up with smaller details i.e. 2 to 4 specific achievements, highlights, or projects that are directly related. You might consider talking about your involvement in negotiations, due diligence, acquisition integration, or transactions. Simply put, you will be communicating the message:
“This is exactly what I know, and this is how well I have managed to do it.”
Don’t Forget that You Have Already Passed the First Step
You are probably nervous. You are sitting in the executive conference room with the CFO, president, and 2 executive VPs present. Simply take a deep breath and don’t forget that you have passed the first step already, which is typically a phone screening.Remember, recruiters can be difficult to please, so to get this far means you’re doing very well.
If the job is at the level where the company’s top executives are in attendance at your first interview, you know that they are probably interested or they would not take the time to interview you. You should thus go into the interview knowing that you already have them on the hook, so be confident, but not boastful.
Take the Initiative
The interview is drawing to a close and you had hoped to share your experience in supply chain management. However, the topic never really came up. It is up to you to introduce the topic to the conversation. You might comment:
“Before we conclude, I would like to share one more thing I believe would be important to the position and my fit within your company.”
You should then proceed to lay out the information. It is important to take the initiative during the interview to ensure that you communicate everything valuable.
It is not in doubt that interviewing is often stressful and difficult. However, you should remember that your professional life is on the line. Walk into every interview fully aware of the information you would like to communicate. Control the interview quietly to ensure that you paint a picture of success and knowledge as you position yourself for a job offer.
What tips hve you got for acing your interview and getting that executive position?