For those in any type of mid- or senior-level position, job searching and interview preparation are completely different than they were for entry-level positions.
By now, you have years and sometimes decades of experience under your belt, and the positions you are interviewing for will expect much more from you.
The interview skills of many mid-senior executives are rusty, even those who perform interviews for their current job. These five tips have been compiled to ensure that you spend the day before your job interview preparing properly for your dream job.
Do Your Homework
Researching prospective employers is something any candidate for any position should do. However, it is absolutely critical in the case of upper-level positions. Hiring managers expect a high level of professionalism, which means a competitive candidate should never walk into an interview without doing adequate research.
Learn as much as you can about the company’s goals and trajectory, the position you are interviewing for and the hiring manager who will be conducting the interview. If necessary, compile a brief sheet of highlights the day before to glance over immediately before the interview.
Walking into an interview with a solid knowledge of where the company is headed will allow you to give the interviewer intelligent and informed answers. Researching the hiring manager or interviewer will also put you on more level footing, which can ease your nerves and translate into a more confident demeanor.
Review All Relevant Information
Once you have performed sufficient research on the company and the position you are interviewing for, it is time to move on to the next step: reviewing.
On the day before an interview, it is important to review not just your resume, but your entire relevant work history. Interviewers are going to ask tough questions about your failures, your weaknesses and your personal life, especially as you move up the corporate ladder. These questions are meant to be uncomfortable or surprising so the hiring manager can assess how you handle communicating about stressful or sensitive topics.
The best way to prepare for this is to review common interview questions for C-level executives, even if you are interviewing for a job a bit lower down the chain. These questions are going to be the toughest and most uncomfortable, so preparing graceful answers will make the actual interview significantly less stressful. Rehearse your answers the day before so that you can give a prepared and thoughtful, but not robotic, response.
Remember: This Is Not About You
Candidates for positions at all levels often make the mistake of walking into an interview with the mentality of, “What can this company do for me?” In reality, successful candidates realize that these interviews are intended to gauge what you can do for the company. There is a time and a place to ask questions for your own benefit and pass judgment on whether or not the company is a good fit for you, but that time is not during initial interviews.
Interviewers are looking for candidates who come with the attitude of a seller, not a buyer. You are the one being appraised. They will interact with dozens of candidates before and after you. The day before the interview, prepare statements that will show what unique skills and assets you can bring to the company’s current climate to help further their overall mission and long-term goals. Once you have been invited back, you can begin to focus more on what questions you would like to have answered.
Build A Strategy
Treating this job interview like a familiar process-building exercise. You have experience with creating successful strategic initiatives, so use that experience to your benefit. Outline goals for both the short-term and long-term interview process. What is the purpose of each step in the process? What tactics will yield the greatest success with this company and this specific hiring manager?
Once you have fleshed out your strategy, decide how to optimize your approach to achieve the goals you have laid out.
Craft Your Story
Striking the right balance of succinct yet engaged can be difficult. To help yourself find this balance in the midst of any nerves your might feel during the interview, set time aside the day before to craft the story you want to tell.
Interviews are the perfect time to share the human side of your personality that cannot be conveyed through a resume and cover letter. Hiring managers are people too, and if you can leave them with a warm impression of who you are as a person, you will be in the forefront of their mind when they are considering the best person for the job.
Think about your background. Where did you come from? Where are you heading? What sets you apart from your peers? Is it your superb communication abilities? Do you have a top-notch work ethic? Are you a leader who inspires confidence and loyalty? Whatever it is, be sure that this story is the central point of your interview and that your history and resume reflect it. Make it the driving force behind every question you answer. Be confident in your story and draw the interviewer into it as you talk. Make the company as interested in you as you are in the company.
Proper interview preparation is the only way to land a high-level position these days. Following these five steps the day before your job interview will ensure that you walk into the hiring manager’s office confident, composed and ready to tackle anything they might throw your way.