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executive job interviews | Mary Elizabeth Bradford - The Career Artisan

Posts Tagged ‘executive job interviews’

Interview Strategies: How to Become a Job Offer Magnet

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

magneticDo you think selling yourself in a job interview is “selling out?”

I hear this from clients from time to time: “I hate the idea of marketing to prospective employers. I am just me. I shouldn’t have to ‘sell myself’ to get a job!”

I think the problem is that our definition of marketing conjures up feelings of  going against our authentic selves. After all, if someone doesn’t like us for who we are, then the job probably isn’t suited for us anyway, right?

Wrong!

Let me offer another perspective on selling yourself to a potential employer: when you are able to communicate your strengths in a way that compels others, you are doing yourself and them a great favor. After all, you can’t help a company that doesn’t hire you.

To boost your “know, like and trust” factor in job interviews, it’s vital you know how to encourage potential employers to hire you in a way that’s ethical, full of integrity and authentically you.

The more you learn and understand how to truly “sell” yourself, the more you will attract the interest of employers, receive bigger and better job offers, and feel confident communicating the multiple ways you can help potential businesses get the results they want and that only you can deliver. Then everyone gets what they both need and desire.

Below are three tips use can use in your very next job interview.

Tip #1: At the beginning of the interview, ask what the potential employer is looking for in a star candidate.

As you casually jot down what they share with you, pay attention to those key words and phrases that match what you love to do the most. Let’s say for example you are a marketing manager who is an expert at product launches; they mention they just had a problem with their latest product launch and are looking for help there. Circle that challenge! You have just been given a BIG gift by your interviewer!

Tip:2 Dig by asking more questions about their challenge.

Utilize the gift you have just been given and ask more questions about their product launch challenge such as:

  • Why do they think they were not successful with their product launch?
  • Who has tried so far to fix the problem?
  • What would it mean to them if the problem was fixed?

Tip #3: Seed the interview by frequently mentioning your value in terms of your product launch expertise.

If you are a marketing expert, you will frequently share the results of your marketing efforts throughout the interview.

Plus, you can mention plenty of stories that highlight results you have achieved. The best ones clearly paint a before and after picture (and the worse the better, so don’t hold back). Think of all the problems, challenges and dire situations with past product launches with previous companies that you have taken on and how great things are now that you have helped them.

BONUS TIP: Make THEM an offer they can’t resist.

The point is to create an “offer” that’s so irresistible, your interviewers think, “We have to hire this person!”

To do this, you need to offer something they believe they can’t get anywhere else. Be creative!

Continuing with the product launch example, you could offer to fix the problem within a certain time frame. Or, as part of your interview, come in for a couple hours and evaluate the product launch in more detail. Then you could offer some solutions (don’t give too much away when you do this though; they have to hire you for that!). 

Here are some additional examples:

  1. One of my clients quickly received a robust offer because he promised to produce at least two potential solutions to a challenge the company was facing within 60 days.
  2. As part of her interview process, another client set up a 1/2 day, on-site observation of the potential employer’s media company. She then presented an outline of 10 ideas to improve their work environment and boost their ratings. They offered her a whopping 100K over what she had been making previously. All this, even after she was let go from that previous position. I love it.

You will benefit from shifting your thinking if you look at selling from the vantage point that you must be disingenuous, or that to “win” someone else must lose.

When you unburden yourself from these limiting beliefs, you will instantaneously feel more free to communicate to your interviewers how you can authentically help them. By doing so, you will be removing  the obstacles (including money, time and your competition) that might otherwise stand between you and the job offer(s) you want.

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Why Your Executive Resume is Critical to Landing a CEO Job

Monday, May 5th, 2014

At the CEO level, your career transition landscape has a unique terrain: there are fewer C-level positions, they come up less often and each has its specific requirements. As a smart CEO, you will first plan your upcoming transition by defining and writing down your wants, needs, career goals and driving motivators. You will want to layer in some due diligence respective to the short and long term economic growth and stability of the industries you have in your sights. The reason this due diligence is so critical is because today’s leadership resume must be written to what you wish to do moving forward vs. a chronological list of what you have done.

Demonstrating you can communicate your focus, your purpose and your value inspires confidence and will attract the positions you wish to explore.

Once you have a plan in place, this is the bull’s eye that you can now create and design your CEO resume for. A primary complaint from C-level executives, and one of the major issues with C-level executive resumes, is that they contain too much information. You may find that you have done and achieved so much in your career, you can’t find the objectivity needed to understand what to leave in and what to leave out of your executive leadership resume.

As a CEO, you need to communicate certain things in your resume that demonstrate your value in a C-level role to potential companies. In addition, you may be interviewed by a board of directors, and often in these cases, they like to see an executive biography in addition to your resume.

Hiring a professional resume writer to help craft a CEO resume can not only serve as a huge weight off of your shoulders, but bring you a substantial ROI in many ways, including:

  • Helping to present yourself in a highly professional polished manner.
  • Helping to showcase the metrics of your accomplishments.
  • Helping to communicate the value that you bring to the table.

All of these benefits can and do have a positive effect on your interviews and offers. Regardless of who writes your CEO resume, there are two critical factors you must not miss.

The first is to write to the positions you are focusing on. You can start this process by finding 2 or 3 representative positions and then literally highlighting the keywords and phrases in those positions that match you. From this you will be able to see running themes and gain clarity on your own personal branding (what you are attracted to) as well as understanding what keywords and phrases to layer in.

The second is to be sure you are speaking to the needs of the companies with whom you have defined represent ideal positions for you. At the CEO resume level, it is a mistake to use an old resume or a 6-page resume which may contain task-oriented details from past positions you held 15 or 20 years ago. At this point in your career everything needs to be recalibrated. Older positions may be placed in a “Past Career Highlights” section and given a brief nod with perhaps one notable accomplishment listed. For more recent positions, again, be sure to omit any task-driven details and concentrate on leadership skills. You may wish to emphasize leadership skills such as your visionary ability, how you empower organizational change, drive profitability through developing and initiating business goals, provide overall corporate direction, and inspire core teams across various divisions and reinforce corporate branding.

If you find yourself unsure of what accomplishments of yours to highlight, simply refer back to the ideal career positions you unearthed. Whatever they are asking for, those are the skills you match and reflect back to them using quantifiable accomplishments wherever and whenever you can.

If these basics are not reflected in your CEO resume, it could cost you a job interview or offer. You don’t have to list your entire detailed career history in your leadership resume. Simply present a polished document that shows what kind of a CEO you could be to their company.

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