Executive-level interviews are the biggest job interviews you could possibly have. It’s not as daunting as it sounds, though – if you’ve got years of leadership experience and plenty of industry knowledge to back up your skills, it can go over smoothly. As with any job interview, catalog your own experiences, learn everything you can about the company, and, of course, study up on questions you may be asked. Here are a couple of common ones to prepare for.
1 – “How would you describe your communication skills?”
Communication skills are the key to being a good C-suite employee. It’s a good chunk of the job – communicating with all sorts of people and tailoring your words to each discussion. The interviewer wants to know that you’re capable in this area, but your answer will also clue them into your perception of your abilities. While this question seems pretty vague, the best way to go about it is by offering examples of where your communication skills have helped you succeed in your other leadership positions.
2 – “Where do you plan to take our company?”
Naturally, you’ll be receiving a number of questions about your future plans and goals for the company. These questions are meant to reveal how well-versed you are in the company, if the changes you aspire to make will be valuable, and the ways in which you differ from previous executives in the position. You should come up with a detailed plan of where you’d like to take this company, focused on improvements that align with what the company’s already done and their goals moving forward. Memorize it until you can give a persuasive pitch with your most impressive ideas at the forefront.
3 – “What other CEOs do you admire and why?”
Expect questions regarding other company leaders who inspire you, whether or not they’re supervisors you’ve worked under in the past or any CEO. Keep a mental list of all kinds of these people, and take into consideration how their values and accomplishments align with the company you’re interviewing for, too. Your answer to this question will say a lot about the kinds of leadership that you admire and will inform the interviewer about what traits you’ll aspire to bring as a leader. Streamline the process when answering this question – it’s beneficial to bring the ways the CEOs you admire have informed your own abilities as a leader.
4 – “How would you pitch our company?”
If you’re applying to be the CEO or other executive-level role, you naturally need to know the company inside and out. Do a ton of research and bring all the good you can about this company up into your answer. Pitch like you’re already the CEO and speaking to a group of investors. This is a great opportunity to show your skills in communication and persuasion along with your knowledge of the company.
5 – “What are your biggest accomplishments as an executive?”
Not only does your answer reveal if you’re capable of bringing great success to their company, but what you would consider to be a success in general. This will show the interviewer whether or not your values align with the company. So, when you’re constructing an answer to this question, you have to take the company’s vision into account too. Tailor the accomplishments you mention to both the company’s idea of success, current goals, and your own interpretation of success.
Succeeding in an executive-level interview is all about knowing the company as if you’re already CEO, and determining how your own goals and experiences align with what you know. You need to prove yourself the perfect candidate – someone with the right values, a vision that matches theirs, and a clear commitment to the company.
Want to ace any interview? Keep an eye out for the upcoming Style Nine to Five Get Hired Workbook!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Featured Image: Adobe Stock