As you move up the career ladder and start to apply for more senior and executive-level jobs, expectations of you will change. This will be particularly noticeable in job interviews.
In order to impress, you need to prepare.
You already have enough experience to know the importance of arriving early, bringing an umbrella in case it rains, and checking your mode of transport in advance.
We want to give you more than that and take things a little deeper to provide real, actionable advice that you can take to nail any job interview.
Without further ado, here are our top tips to make sure you nail your next interview.
1. Do the right research
All good interview prep starts with a lot of research. Give yourself as much time as possible to learn about your prospective new employer.
Keep in mind quality over quantity with your research. Learning founding information, key milestones, and directors’ names is all well and good – but how does it prove that you’re the right fit for the job?
Really, it just shows that you can read and recite information.
Try and make your research targeted and relevant to create talking points for your interview. For example:
If you can access financial reports, they are a gold mine of information – check Companies House! Look at their turnover, revenue, and profit margins – are they growing or shrinking?
Do you have any innovative ideas, based on your experience, that can help the company continue to expand or make improvements?
Brand and Culture
Check out their company values and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. Can you share your perspective or find some talking points to springboard off in the interview?
The Wider Team
Check out the other executives within the team – their experience and strengths – to see how you can best fit into the wider picture.
Ultimately, you want to use this information to build rapport, and demonstrate your commitment and interest in the position. If you can highlight ideas you have to streamline activity, build on existing success, or make improvements, you are sure to stand out as a candidate who has done their homework in the right way.
2. Bring your own results
The combination of a thorough read of the job specification and responsibilities, plus your research, will give you a very clear idea of what the company is looking for.
Now that you have this information, take some time to think about how you can relate it to your own experience. Keep everything laser-focused and tailored to the business.
Prepare any tangible examples you have of areas where you have made a difference in your previous roles and relate them to the strengths and weaknesses the company may be experiencing.
Make sure each example you provide is specific. The relevant results you share will depend on the position you are interviewing for, but here are a few examples:
- The number of people you managed
- The % by which you cut costs
- The results of a campaign you ran
- The total revenue you generated
- The ROI you achieved
One final thing here. Interviews at this level are designed to test you and make sure you are who you say you are. As a result, you need to be prepared to be challenged over mistakes you’ve made in the past.
Don’t try and avoid these topics. It will make the interviewer think you can’t take responsibility and aren’t trustworthy – two major red flags for any employer.
Instead, talk about how you acted after the fact, the recovery you made, and how you grew professionally as a result. Every error is a learning opportunity.
3. Look at the wider industry/market
Once you’ve done your homework on the company, look at the market they operate in. This is especially important if you are trying to move into a new industry – you need to demonstrate your interest in the wider context.
Another key area to look at is the company’s competition. Check out their activity so you understand the USPs and points of differentiation that your prospective employer offers.
Read industry news sources, research trends in the industry, and discover future events that will be taking place. Again, try and tie your findings to your own experience, or offer your perspective on key issues, either current or upcoming.
This effort will not go unnoticed. The more you can show your passion for the role in an intentional way, the more likely it is you will impress your interviewer.
4. Prepare your follow-up questions
This isn’t your first job interview, so you already know about the importance of preparing follow-up questions. The interview isn’t just about you being the right fit for the company – they need to be the right fit for you too.
With that in mind, as a more experienced professional, try and move away from generic questions about the next steps and why the position is open.
You could ask questions about the company culture, wider team, or future plans for the business. You could also pose questions relating to findings from your research. The main aim is to try and be insightful. Your interviewer will understand and appreciate your effort.
5. Talk about your strengths beyond the job description
You have so much more to offer than the experience this role is looking for. Help recruiters see that you are worth the investment by talking about your other strengths!
Think back over any training you’ve undertaken, qualifications you’ve obtained, and any specific niche experience you’ve built up. How could it be applied to this new role?
If you can demonstrate additional ways that you can develop others in your team, or the business in general, beyond what the recruiter is looking for, your interview is sure to be remembered favourably.
6. Talk about the future
Companies want to invest in the best talent – but they also want assurances that you are planning a future with them.
You will have the opportunity in your interview to talk about how your experience will help the business achieve its aims. But try to go one step further. Let the interviewer know about your ambitions to discover how they align with company values.
This not only helps you find out what kind of progression options you will have but shows your intention to grow with the company – rather than this just being another step on the corporate ladder.
7. Talk about your life outside work
Your interviewer doesn’t just want an understanding of your professional experience, especially in senior positions.
They will also want to know about the other aspects of your life, to understand whether you fit their company culture.
So, show a bit of your personality! Talk about your soft skills, creative pursuits, and other achievements to position yourself as a well-rounded candidate. The more you share about who you are, the better your interviewer will understand that you’re a winning addition to their team.
We hope this guide has given you a clear understanding of the expectations your interviewer will have – and the work you can do to position yourself as their top-choice candidate.
If you’re ready to think seriously about your next career move, we would love to have a confidential conversation.
If you decide to partner with Iconic, we guarantee you will have an experienced specialist consultant fighting in your corner to help you get a job that truly aligns with your vision and values. We will provide tailored interview support throughout your journey, so you are always fully prepared for what comes next.
We’ll be with you every step of the way – from our initial consultation to your onboarding and beyond. We pride ourselves on taking a truly candidate-first approach and have partnered with leading companies across Scotland to provide you with the best opportunities across professional services disciplines.