Interview Tips for Executives Changing Career

Recruiters screen 100s of good candidates in tough job markets.

Make sure you reach the top of the pile!

Tip No. 1 - Arm yourself with a great CV! 

Your CV paves the way to a new career and precedes you into the interview room. Right at the beginning of the career-changing process update your CV to include new skills and qualifications.  Customise your CV to favour the job you want, highlighting the qualities that fit the role.  Look great on paper as well as in person and use key words and phrases in the first page of your CV to shout about your suitability. 

Do your homework 

Nobody ever lost out in an interview by knowing too much about a prospective employer.  Find out what you can and turn a potentially one-sided interview into a two-way conversation about the company's goals and how you could be a great asset.  

There are always key areas that the recruiter must satisfy and these are usually revealed at the outset when the post is advertised.  Study them and make sure you have your answers ready.  More than that - make sure you can talk at length on any key subject whether it is concerned with profits, HR or even manufacturing details for products and industries.   Knowing there are no surprises in store can help you glide through even tricky interviews.  

Pay particular attention to 'pet projects' the company may have and read up on any awards or other recognition received.  Let them know you are interested! Introduce your own skills and talents wherever possible and showcase your specialist capabilities and how they may be applied to improve profits and productivity. 

Do the sums 

Learn about the figures.  At the end of the day, successful business is all about the numbers.  And learn about the competition - most companies have a major competitor - knowing who that competitor is can help you gain ground over rival candidates. 

Performance figures tell the story.  An impressive track record of sales or performance levels may be better demonstrated on paper - make it easy to analyse and also ensure you have more than one copy as executive positions are often interviewed by a panel. 

Prepare a response to the trick question: there will always be one or perhaps several! 

Interviewers nearly always ask whether you have any weaknesses or if you feel there are areas where you could improve.  Replying that you have no faults is pretty much like saying that you do but you are not sharing them!  Be honest about an area where you feel you would welcome some training.  Rarely can one candidate tick all the boxes! 

Responses may be general but must carry useful information to the interviewer - don't waffle!  Keep it brief but interesting and if asked to 'describe your management style' remember to include a convincing description of people skills, team leadership, modern management methods and effective decision-making.

Never leave an interview without asking questions of your own.  Most interviewers will give you the opportunity to ask and assess your potential on how you present your questions - be prepared for this and know what you are going to ask and why.   

Number-crunching 

The million dollar question is always 'how much?'  Difficult as it may be to ascertain what the position might pay, it is important to have an answer in response to the interviewer's enquiry.  Demanding too much can be disastrous but also asking for too little can mean a wasted opportunity.  The best policy is to research as much as possible beforehand and find out a minimum and maximum range with which you can start a negotiation process. 

If matters proceed successfully you may find the subject of money closes the interview. 

It may be necessary to study the package on offer with a further discussion tabled before a decision may be reached - remuneration at executive level is not always made in cash and a complicated combination of profit share, expenses, pension opportunities and bonus schemes can require some perusal.  No interviewer would expect a snap decision on a salary offer at this stage so indicate an interest but time to consider all issues carefully.   

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