If you are aiming for a C-suite role, better be prepared for some tough and tricky questions coming your way at the personal interview. Here are some tips from an industry insider that will make sure you are ready come what may.
C-Suite roles are everyone’s dreams. Who will not love to rise to a powerful position in the company, where each and every decision taken makes a whole lot of difference? While academic excellence is absolutely necessary for such roles, what is more essential is the correct attitude and aptitude. Even when you possess all these qualities, it still boils down to the interview day, when your eligibility and qualifications are judged none other than by the top management. Sometimes, the reporting of such roles is directly to the CEO of the company and therefore, its better you do some groundwork before going for such an interview. Here are some tips to help you be more prepared:
Giving an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a short summary, which defines your previous roles and responsibilities, your achievements, milestones and experiences in erstwhile roles. It is similar to answering “Tell me about yourself”, but in a more succinct and attractive way. What’s most important is that the summary should not take more than two minutes to be delivered, hence the name. While a good introduction can set the pace for the rest of the interview, it is easy to mess it up if not careful. The recruiter typically wants to judge your confidence, aptitude, communication skills and learn about the trajectory of your career. The easiest way to show all of this is by describing yourself positively and focusing on your strengths.
What is your management style?
One of the most important aspects of executive positions like Chief Revenue Officer or Chief Finance Officer is management. You will be in a position of high importance and a lot of experienced professionals will be reporting to you. The company will of course want to know how you would go about managing people. Whether you are a stickler for hierarchy or love to get involved with your team on different tasks, it all depends on your working style and different styles are apt for different situations. Instead of describing an archaic and dictatorial style of functioning, you must convince the recruiter about being a team player, a leader in true sense and not just a manager.
Telling a story
While backing up your answers with provable facts is important, a factual response is not enough. You have to make your answers engaging for the interviewer and that will happen when you tell stories about your accomplishments, strengths and milestones. The story would include few basic points like the challenges you faced, actions you took to overcome them and the final outcome. You should develop at least three to four such success stories to provide proof of your brand and value proposition.
Ask sensible questions
No interview should be closed without asking some questions from the recruiter. As a prospective executive of the company, who would be working in managerial position, you have got a moral obligation to at least get familiar with some of the company policies and prospects for your growth and advancement if hired. Just like the interviewer, you also should asses if the company is the right fit for you or not. You can go as far as asking the interviewer about the things that he or she likes about the company and which he doesn’t!
Pick right professional preferences
To make a good first impression it helps to have some influential, industry renowned references. He or she can be your previous boss, a C-suite executive whom you have reported to earlier or worked with in previous organizations. Needless to say, the best references to cite will be intelligent professionals who speak fluently and can talk positively for a reasonable period of time about your past accomplishments, performance and qualifications. Sometimes, having the right references can mean a world of difference.
Saurabh Tyagi is a digital media enthusiast and career expert who provides advice to the job seeker community through his articles, blogs and researches. This article is particularly meant for experienced professionals looking to break into C-suite, those applying to positions like Chief Revenue Officer, or Chief Human Resource Officer amongst others. You can follow him on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.