We live and work in a fast-paced world, but we also have to be ever adaptable in the world of work, ever-ready to adjust that CV, explore new connections and try to nudge some new doors open, and so on. There’s so much information out there these days about how to structure your CV and application forms, which I suspect has directly impacted on the increasing levels of post-interview disappointment that I am always hearing and reading about. Why? Because we’ve become so much better at the “getting the interview” part, that candidates are often failing to then “walk the talk” during the interview. I’ll cover this point in one of the tips below.

So, what can be done to improve your chances at your next senior level job interview? I have a number of practical tips for your tool kit. Which ones you adopt will be a matter of personal choice. I advocate all of them of course!

Be tuned in, switched on in advance

At least 15 minutes before you even enter the building get “in the zone”, relax, breathe, tune in, and be absolutely on your game. Don’t leave it until you walk in the building to tune in.

“Walk the talk”

You have ticked all of the boxes in the JD, but do you have relevant and engaging ‘war stories’ for the panel that demonstrate that what you put down on paper lives and breathes for you. These anecdotes should be ready to pull out of the bag as needed during the questioning. Remember to demonstrate the RESULTS of what you have achieved.


This relates to the above point. I’d like you to dig a bit deeper, work a bit harder, at rehearsing the potential answers you might give (to key questions which you will be able to anticipate, knowing the role’s requirements, getting your EBIT & P&L info committed to memory). The answers should be rehearsed aloud, not in your head. Get used to the sound of your voice, and it’ll pay dividends in terms of confidence and credibility.

Better company research

A no brainer? Perhaps, but again, candidates are getting smarter at this. You can download an annual report, get tuned into the company’s vision and objectives of course, but how about connecting with a few (not the interview panel) employees via social networking, and finding out what the key issues are in the company? How about a Google News search a day or two before the interview to see whether there’s any fresh company information?

Post interview note

You will no doubt in the past have followed up an interview with an email note thanking the interviews for their time, and briefly reiterating why you feel you’re right for the role. But how about a hand written, hand delivered thankyou card? This can be written out before hand, and left at reception as you leave (or if you’re walked right to the door, then pop back just after!). I’ve known this gesture work many times on a number of levels. The main one is, whether you get the job or not, you will be remembered for such a personalized way of saying thank you. Of course, an email follow up reiterating your suitability is the minimum standard.

It’s a ‘business meeting’

This is all about state of mind. If you truly view the interview as a business meeting, it will change the way you approach things subtly – you’ll feel a bit more like you’re sharing the “driving seat”, and I’ve known many cases where the candidate has been successful by adopting this mind-set.

The tips we’ve proposed are assuming you’ve got all the basics locked down; good body language, nice succinct answers while offering them the option to go deeper, using their words in the interview, etc. Who’s to say which tips, from any source, are the definitive ones? We hope these ones help you at your next executive level job interview, and we’re happy to discuss your own situation, and how we might help you. Just drop us a line to arrange a conversation.

About Steve Nicholls

As a career development coach with over 18 years of career coaching experience, Steve specialises in helping talented senior executives and managers to achieve their full potential and forge meaningful careers. He has built a highly credible reputation as the ‘go to’ career management specialist for professionals worldwide.

Steve is a member of the Career Development Institute, and holds the Post Graduate Diploma in Career Guidance. He uses a focused coaching approach with appropriate challenging that leads to improved motivation, satisfaction and happiness. Aligning personal career satisfaction with life aspects is a balance which Steve appreciates, and he adopts a straightforward, transparent and direct approach.

Steve believes in a collaborative, motivational style of career guidance support and communication. He draws on his diverse professional experience within business, gained across a number of sectors including corporate, public and third sector environments and consultancies.

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