Article, Ace the Executive Interview with Visibility, Value, and Vision by Sharon Graham :

Ace the Executive Interview with Visibility, Value, and Vision
Sharon Graham, CRS, CIS, CCS, CPRW, CEIP

You have successfully landed a job interview for your dream position. With a full and rich career, your successes and achievements are notable. So, when you are invited to the interview, you are not surprised. Your distinguished history and extensive expertise are a great match for the role. However, also among those who secured job interviews with the potential employer are four other senior executives!

The perception that you are a viable candidate is understood – that is why you are on the short list. But, if you have not given consideration to your next employers’ needs, you can be assured that you will not get any further. After all, there are five qualified candidates for only one position. What the potential employer really wants to know is the answer to these three questions: Who are you, really? What makes you special? And, what can you do for us? Clearly, your visibility, value, and vision will be dissected and evaluated.

Your Visibility – Who are you, really?

You can be assured that prior to the job interview and your opportunity to market yourself in person, the recruiter has already followed the standard procedure to access online information on all candidates. If your online presence is barely visible, unkempt, or worse – driven by content you can’t control, how will you be able to relay to the interviewer, a total stranger, who you really are?

You can easily make a positive first impression with most decision makers if you give them a venue where they can associate a name with a face. By creating a VisualCV, you will be able to display a professional profile and showcase your remarkable accomplishments in a highly visual and interactive webpage.

Most recruiters will also tap your LinkedIN profile to learn more about you, and then to perform a thorough background check. If you keep your account updated and use it effectively, you can present valuable insight to your investigators. One of the most meaningful aspects of LinkedIN – and there are many – is that you are able to openly represent your integrity. LinkedIN recommendations are clearly truthful testimonials from people who know you and like you enough to provide an endorsement. You can be assured that these connections will become your strongest references.

Your Value – What makes you special?

Every candidate brings value to the table; if they did not, the recruiter would not have selected them. So, to surpass the rest of the invited executives, you need to present your distinguishing factors.

Your Value Proposition must delineate clearly and concisely the special features you have that your competitors do not. You have a unique blend of skills, qualifications, expertise, and accomplishments to offer a potential employer. By providing the decision maker with an articulate presentation of this distinctive value, you take the competition out of the equation.

Practice delivering your Value Proposition – whether you are asked or not. Being able to deliver your true worth fluently will give you a significant advantage over the rest of the candidates.

Your Vision – What can you do for us?

To beat your competition, you must outshine them in person. If you are like any other business-savvy professional, you have already researched and defined your target market; but have you really investigated the company and its needs? Study the organization’s mission, strategies, culture, and business objectives well. Before you are ever in the meeting, ensure that you have a correct understanding of their needs.

Communicating your vision can be a double-edged sword. Often, companies are hiring leaders to help them change direction and communicate a new vision that offers lasting impact. Clearly, you cannot deliver a plan of action in a meeting where you have not yet had a chance to meet the employees or understand the organization’s new direction. If you are to succeed in your interview, you will need to plan how you are going to communicate your message of being a visionary who can take ideas and convert them into tactical initiatives that will produce bottom-line results.

As a senior-level executive, you already know that you are witnessing the most fiercely competitive labour market in your career. In an interview, your experience and education alone will not get you the job – you need to stand out from the competition and instil the belief that you will be an asset to the company. Your visibility, value, and vision will give you the competitive advantage needed to close your most important sale – the employment interview.

Sharon Graham is Canada’s Career Strategist and Higher Bracket’s principal résumé expert. A recognized career transition expert, she is president and principal consultant for Graham Management Group, founder and executive director of Career Professionals of Canada, and author of Best Canadian Resumes. With multiple certifications in résumé, interview, and career strategy, Sharon has elevated the industry by delivering cutting-edge innovations to résumé writers and career practitioners across Canada. She assists six-figure job seekers though her consulting firm Graham Management Group.


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