Interview Advice from a CEO
Here is invaluable interview advice from a CEO, including a list of deliverables, contributions, and abilities that they look for in the ideal candidate for the executive team in their company.
The next time an employer or CEO asks or thinks to himself or herself, “Why should I hire you?” you need to see the question in a new light — as an opportunity to shine and pull ahead of your competitors and get to the job offer stage.
Interview Advice from CEOs
Here is some interview advice to keep in mind:
- Be memorable. Ask thought-provoking questions that prove you’ve done your homework on the company.
- Listen to questions. If you don’t understand, ask for clarification.
- Don’t oversell. It makes you appear anxious and desperate.
- Be concise. Less is more. Many answers are WAY TOO LONG! The art of great communication is brevity.
- Be accurate. Don’t claim credit for something you didn’t do on your resumé. Don’t say you led the team if you were just a member of the team.
- Ask great questions. What separates candidates in this CEO’s mind is the quality of the questions they ask.
- Don’t ramble. If asked for an infomercial about your career, watch the length. For this group of CEOs, it should be five minutes tops. (In my opinion, I would say many CEO’s might prefer even shorter responses—probably less than two minutes MAX!)
- Suggested resumé length. For this group of CEO’s, they suggested 2-3 pages maximum.
- Be realistic. It’s tough to convince them that you’re open to a reduced role than where you were (similar to moving from a 4,000 square foot home to a 2,000 square foot home). You can do it, but there are lots of things you’d miss! Do consider folks for reduced roles if they’re MEMORABLE.
- Be very prepared. If asked back for a second interview, need to do even more homework so you can dig deeper during this conversation.
- Respect the time. Manage time in your interview. Don’t ask for detailed information, feedback on you, etc., when there are only a few minutes left. If you want feedback, let the person know early in the process. TIP—Always ask to learn the next steps in the hiring process. What is the “Call to Action?” and “Where do we go from here?” Just stay out of limbo and uncertainty.
- Likeability. Can I work with this individual for the next 3-5 years and enjoy the working chemistry we have established? This is usually a “gut check feeling.”
The Big Picture
You will need to be prepared to discuss the following areas of interest that the CEO wants to validate:
1. Your skills and competencies
2. Your knowledge about the company
3. Your value to the company
4. Your worth to the company
5. Whether you can go above and beyond your job description
6. Cultural fit with team and company employees
The Bottom Line
What executive hiring managers really want to know is, “What’s special or different about you?” or “How are you different than all the other candidates who have applied for this position?”.
With this in mind, a good way to approach your answer here is to be ready to address your best “stories and examples” that answer this question — “Will you go the extra mile?”
“In today’s economy, Job Security is the Ability to Secure a Job!” Mark James
Mark James, CPC is the founder and president of Hire Consulting Services (HCS), established in 1999. HCS is a highly customized executive outplacement and career coaching firm for executive-level professionals. Recently published in 2018, Mark is the author of the best-selling book Keys to the C Suite: Unlock the Doors to Executive Career Path Success. He is equipped with over 25 years of experience in Executive Career Management Coaching, Outplacement and Executive Search Consulting. He has been a Certified Partner with Predictive Index® Behavior Assessments since 2016. He focuses on providing a proven and successful strategy and a structured process to fully enable his clients to conduct a professional job search campaign and with the singular goal of securing their next career opportunity in significantly less time it would take without a career coach. Clients gain a new perspective of their marketing value coupled with executing a strategic plan and closing the deal on their new role in their next job.