You would assume that the higher up the position, the more research and preparation goes into applying for a new senior role. But believe it or not, only 2% of applicants make it to the interview stage!
If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s secured yourself an interview, how do you make sure to keep up the winning streak?
Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!
Effective preparation is key for a successful interview. Regardless of your current position, qualifications, and experience on your CV, it’s how you conduct yourself and are able to communicate why you are best suited for the job at the interview that gets you the job.
Here are 6 ways you can prepare for your next senior management interview.
Research the Company
Don’t just scan the “About Us” page on the company’s website. Research the company thoroughly to have a better understanding of their core values, team culture, accomplishments and future goals:
- Read any reports available to you (strategy, financial, performance) to understand the company’s current position and remember any improvements you could suggest in the interview based on your findings.
- “Google” the company and find out what external sites have written about the brand to understand reputation and how their culture is perceived externally.
- Like their social media profiles to stay up to date with what the company is posting at the time of your interview. Therefore, you will be aware of what topics or services they are currently trying to drive traffic to or build awareness on.
Connect with Team Members
Understanding the dynamics of a company could not come from a better perspective than its employees. Connect and have conversations with them on LinkedIn to start a more personal connection so you have a positive reputation in the company prior to the interview.
It shows your enthusiasm to both the other business leaders and the rest of the team as they will recognise you from that connection request and LinkedIn message. If you get awarded the position, you’ve already started on the right foot!
The conversation you have with the company’s team members will also help you identify anything the business might be missing. The interviewer can then conclude that they are hiring you based on culture add and not culture fit. This is particularly beneficial for a new business leader to drive change in order to grow and scale the business.
Practise explaining accomplishments
There is nothing worse than answering a question and realising after five minutes of talking, you have gone off tangent and can’t remember the question you were asked in the first place.
Using the S.T.A.R approach will make your answers more concise, keeping you on track to answer the question efficiently so it’s easier for your interviewer to understand the point of your answer.
Practise the acronym with some of your biggest achievements:
- Situation: what was you asked to do?
- Task: describe what you had to do.
- Action: explain the steps and challenges.
- Results: what did you achieve?
Clarify your leadership style
Applying for a senior role will inevitably require you to describe your leadership style and might need some examples to explain how you address difficult situations or maybe celebrate your employees to improve morale and job satisfaction.
It’s important to understand what style of leadership you most relate to but also how you can adapt this style to suit different scenarios and be flexible which ultimately, is what makes you a great leader.
Be prepared to answer
The questions you will get asked for a senior role will be different compared to a junior position. Preparing for them prior to the interview will make you feel more confident, so you don’t have to think about coming up with the answers on the spot.
Here are 5 questions you might get asked at your interview:
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision?
- What’s the biggest challenge facing our company today and how would you overcome it?
- What would you want to achieve within your first six months?
- What metrics do you consider the most important for performance evaluations?
- What would you do to help improve our workplace culture?
It might seem like a lot to take in but the preparation you put in prior to your interview will be worthwhile. Even if you are not offered the position, the experience alone will make you more confident for your next interview so take it as a learning opportunity.
It might even be a good talking point at your next interview when they ask, “tell me about a time you have failed.”
Have questions ready to ask
Asking questions during your interview will show a genuine interest in the role and the company. The type of questions are more important however, to really prove your research and enthusiasm for the role, relating to any questions they ask you about your experience.
Here are 4 questions you might want to ask during your interview:
- How would you describe the company’s culture?
- What challenges are the company facing right now?
- How is success measured and celebrated?
- How does the role contribute to the vision of the company?
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