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Viewpoint - Bob Gershberg - December 2023

Acing the Executive Job Interview

by Bob Gershberg, CEO & Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search


Executive interviews are not only about showcasing your skills and experience but also about demonstrating your strategic thinking, decision-making ability, and potential for leadership within the organization. Tailor your responses to emphasize how you can contribute to the company's success at an executive level. The interview process for an executive-level position is much more elaborate and intensive than for an entry-level or mid-level job. While lower-level job interviews usually focus on your ability to complete a certain task or responsibility, an executive interview aims at evaluating your leadership skills and how well-suited you are, as an executive, to a company’s culture. They aim to determine your ability to contribute to a company or organization.


Executive-level interviews are also used to evaluate your:


·        Ability to implement change within a company

·        Management and leadership skills

·        Likelihood of setting and meeting strategic goals

·        Decision-making skills

·        Capacity to deliver results

·        Ability to manage and lead teams and organizations



Maxing an executive interview requires a combination of thorough preparation, effective communication, and showcasing your leadership skills. Here are some tips to help you succeed in an executive interview:


Keep the opening statement brief. After the search committee introduces themselves, the candidate should set the tone for the interview by providing opening remarks not to exceed three to five minutes. Leverage this time to provide a summary overview of your career, why the role is the right one at the right time, and why the client’s mission and business model appeals to you.


Research the company extensively. Understand the company's mission, values, and culture.

Familiarize yourself with recent news, achievements, and challenges the company may be facing. The more knowledgeable you are about the company, the better the impression you can make on the people you're interviewing with.


Know the position and its requirements well. Have a clear understanding of the executive role you're interviewing for. Be prepared to discuss how your skills and experience align with the specific requirements of the position.


Be informed of industry trends, challenges, and opportunities. Demonstrate your knowledge of the competitive landscape and how it may impact the company.


Share specific examples of your leadership experience, emphasizing your ability to lead teams, drive strategic initiatives, and achieve results. Be prepared to discuss any experience you have in managing through change or crisis. Use quantifiable metrics to showcase your accomplishments and impact in previous roles. Talk about how your leadership contributed to revenue growth, cost savings, or other measurable outcomes.


Practice clear and concise communication. Executives need to convey complex ideas in a straightforward manner. Demonstrate active listening skills by engaging with the interviewer's questions and providing thoughtful responses.


Be prepared to discuss how you have handled challenging situations or crises in the past.

Highlight your ability to make tough decisions and lead teams through adversity. Showcase how your values align with the company culture. Emphasize your adaptability and how you can contribute positively to the existing team dynamics.


Prepare thoughtful, intelligent questions about the company, team, and the challenges the organization is currently facing. This will demonstrate your genuine interest and engagement in the opportunity.


Project confidence, poise, and professionalism. Pay attention to your body language, tone of voice, and demeanor. Focus on executive presence. And by all means, dress professionally.


Do not say: “That’s a good question” or “I am going to be honest with you”


Be authentic and genuine. Tell a good story but don’t talk too much.


Send a thank-you email expressing gratitude for the interview. Reiterate your interest in the position and briefly mention how your skills align with the company's needs.




All the best, 

Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|

(888) 875-9993 ext 102


Finding tomorrow’s leaders today! 

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