How to Take Control of Your Own Executive Job Interview

How to Take Control of Your Executive Job Interview

Why is “What haven’t we asked you that we should have” is so important in your executive job interview?

The job of an interviewer is to meet with prospective executive job candidates, ask detailed, preplanned, and specific questions and decide whether or not this candidate should move on to the next round of interviewing. Throughout your executive job interview, there is one move that you are sure to experience, they will attempt to “rattle your cage,” at least once, possibly more. They won’t push you too far, just far enough. They want to throw you off balance and see how you react under pressure. One of the questions that seems to be designed especially to do this is, “What questions haven’t I asked you?” This can be a make it or break it moment, it is up to you. If you are prepared, this can be your chance to seal the deal and thoroughly impress the interviewer.

How do you plan to take control of your executive job interview? Image courtesy of Ambro at

How do you plan to take control of your executive job interview? Image courtesy of Ambro at

Organize Your Thoughts BEFORE the Interview

·       Be Ready for the Question

Try as we might, it is nearly impossible to be prepared for every single question that will come our way in an interview. But, even so, it is in our best interest to do all that we possibly can. You should practice your answers to the hard questions in front of a trusted friend, or even take video yourself (this is so easy with smartphones!). Watch what you have recorded to be sure that you do not appear to be unprepared. Make sure you appear calm and not flustered or frustrated. Keep your voice steady and remember to smile and not look or act like you are in pain–even though you might be! There will be no surprise element to your executive job interview because you will be prepared–more than half the battle won.

·       No “Cookie-Cutter” Answers: Be Creative!

While it is great to have some practice under your belt and be prepared, be sure that you do not seem to be completely rehearsed. You will need to think outside the box. This can sometimes become easier when you have actually been chatting with the interviewer for a few minutes. You will not be able to preplan that person’s temperament or personality. You may need to tailor your responses to meet what you feel they are looking for to some extent, but remember to be true to who you are. Chances are the interviewer is hoping to discover how quickly you think on your feet without tripping over your own words and thoughts. That’s why thinking creatively along with your preparation will be essential. It would serve you well, as you prepare to spend some time researching unique questions that may be asked during an interview. They may even go so far as to ask questions such as: what book are you currently reading? Your answers to these unexpected questions can really make a difference in the overall impression you leave them with.

·       So, “What haven’t we asked you that we should have?”

As far as an actual example of an answer, try something like, “We have covered a lot already, but I was hoping to expand on my experience with…” If what you bring up leads into a more detailed discussion on your level of experience and qualifications, then that’s a good thing. If not, you can simply conclude with something like, “I, of course, just want to tell you again how excited I am about this position.” That will leave the conversation with a positive conclusion.

What You Already Know…

In summary, keep in mind that for the most part, prospective employers are simply interested in what YOU truly think your strengths are. They would like an idea of how you handle different situations including disappointment or failure. With that said, your interviewer most likely, would like to give you a chance to speak freely about anything that they may have neglected to ask you. Use the opportunity to highlight your skills and accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to accentuate the positive. Your response to that final question will provide them with the information they need to determine whether you can handle high-pressure situations and respond effectively or not, so show them you are capable. If you remember to always think in advance about where your words will lead the discussion, you will be able to effectively focus the interview in the direction you want it to go. Interviews aren’t fun, but with proper planning and preparation you can maintain at least some control and keep the focus on your positive qualifications.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
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