MT EXPERT: Here's what you should know before you're interviewed for a CEO job

There's plenty of interview advice for grads, says Jane Rankin. But no one ever tells people at the top how to prepare.

by Jane Rankin

There is abundant advice for graduates on how to create a great first impression in that all-important career-starting job interview. But what if your upcoming job interview is for a senior leadership role? What if you’re interviewing for a seat at the biggest table?

Always be yourself

It sounds obvious, but the single most important quality in great leaders is authenticity. It is fundamentally important to be honest and authentic at all times, and the job interview is no exception.

Do your research

Some advice is applicable whether you’re interviewing for your first job or your twentieth. But at the top level, kick it up a notch. Make it immediately and self-evidently clear that you’ve done your research on the individual you’re meeting, the company and the market in which it operates.
 
But don’t just play back information that’s in the public domain. Ask about the company’s recent policies or successes (or failures) and invite a discussion: what did the company learn from its recent new product launch? Why is it moving in that different strategic direction? What was your interviewer’s personal role in driving the business into new markets?

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