How Do Best Answer Executive Interview Questions

Oct 27, 2021 11:30:28 AM

Executive Interview Advice ⭐️ How do Executives Answer Interview Questions_


If you have climbed up the corporate ladder at your present employer and never gone through the hiring process for an external position with a company that doesn’t know you, you’ll want to be able to answer questions in a different way.

At the Executive level, these interviews are more like comfortable conversations. That means that you can use a questioning strategy yourself. Think about what questions you want to ask so you can identify how to make yourself highly relevant to their needs, challenges and aspirations.

It’s important to know that Executives do not usually get asked the standard behavioral questions. If you’ve risen to the level of Director or above, you’re not going to be asked a question like, “Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a supervisor and how you handled it” or “Tell me about a time when you failed.” Those questions are generally reserved for frontline managers and individual contributors. Don’t waste time studying behavioral answers to behavioral questions.

Instead, you want to focus on creating answers to questions in the S T A R format: 1) Situation 2) Task 3) Activity 4) Results.

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However, I recommend to my clients that they adjust that format to a S O A R format: Set up the situation, explain the opportunity gained from it, then tell them the actions you took and the quantifiable results you achieved.

When they ask you a question, start with a general answer and then provide a specific example.

They might ask, “Do you have XYZ experience?” You can respond by saying, “Yes, that’s actually what I do on a weekly basis in my current job. For instance…”  and then describe a specific accomplishment story from your career that would be relevant to that XYZ experience.

Set up the situation, explain the opportunity it presented you, the actions you took and how it impacted the company in a positive way.

Impact is what they’re looking for. At the Executive level, they’re no longer focused on whether you have the competencies advertised in the job description. They’re looking for meaningful results such as how you’ve impacted the top or bottom line of the company you work for.

Before you jump into the hiring process, spend some time figuring out the biggest impacts you’ve achieved in your career. That way, you’ll have the answer at your fingertips when it’s time for the conversation.

Remember that you don’t have to wing it! If you’re doing a video interview, make a cheat sheet and put it up on your screen next to the video window of the interview—a few words that jog your memory about the story you want to tell and the quantifiable result you want to share.

The quantifiable result doesn’t have to be exact; it can be an estimate, as long as they get a sense of your impact.

In an Executive hiring conversation, they want to know if bringing you on will get them their money’s worth (quickly). They want to see evidence that you’ll be able to pay for yourself the first year. And the best way for them to connect those dots is to hear stories about the direct results you’ve achieved.

Don’t make your S O A R story very long: three to five minutes is plenty.

If you want to go into a more detailed answer, I would love to talk with you about what I call the Hero’s Journey format. The Hero’s Journey format describes numerous challenges you’ve had to overcome, the actions you took and the multiple impacts you achieved across multiple areas.

Usually, when you have accomplished something great, there are results of those results, or a ripple effect - good things that happen as a result of you accomplishing that great thing... and that ripple effect allows you to be a multifaceted leader. And that’s exactly what they’re looking for.

Tammy Kabell

Written by Tammy Kabell

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