Preparing for a C suite interview is unlike any other experience you have had. The pressure most executives feel is enormous. After all, you are being evaluated for a leadership role in an organization and have graduated from staff interviews. How do you get ready? How do you start preparing for a C suite interview?
Preparing for a C Suite Interview Begins With Their First Contact
When you were a beginner and the phone rang with a stranger calling who was representing themselves as a recruiter, whether corporate or agency recruiter, you may have had a tendency to brush them off. “I’m not interested,” you may have said, or “I’m happy where I am.”
Now, when the phone rings, you already understand that whether it is someone you work for or with, or someone calling to discuss an opportunity, you need to be ready 24×7. No downtime for you at work or when opportunity knocks. Thus, just as you do when you receive any new contact, understand that the interview assessment begins with the first conversation. Whether it is labeled as an interview or not, it is an interview. After all, any time you are being evaluated, you are being interviewed, right. It may not have that official label but it is an interview.
Be Ready With Questions to Clarify The Situation You Might Step Into
How large a budget would I have? How many direct and indirect reports?
How large a budget will I have?
How will success be measured? Are there any initial milestones I will need to meet?
What happened to the person who was in this role previously? If they are still with the firm, follow up by asking, why they have moved out of the role and whether they will be involved with interviewing. If they are no longer with the firm, ask about their successes in the role and what they understand the reasons were for the departure.
How did they come to find you and what in your background piqued their interest? This is where they reveal whether it is someone close to you who pointed them to you or something as simple as your LinkedIn profile (which should make the outreach far less interesting).
This is probably as far as you should go other than to ask about next steps. If they cannot answer your questions, you are speaking with “a screener” or a contingency recruiter who has no real relationship with the client and is hoping to get lucky. Getting entwined with either means you are being represented by someone who does not carry a strong impression in the firm’s mind.
If this is someone from the employer, they will answer your questions openly and give you a basis for deciding whether to continue discussions.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2017
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and leadership coaching.
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