Interviewing for Executives – 5 Steps to Ensure you Stand Out

The interview process is a highly competitive one and like any elite sport the difference between winning and losing is marginal. With this in mind, it’s useful to look at the characteristics shared by successful candidates.

They reposition themselves from job applicant to business partner

When coaching clients, I always encourage them to understand the world from the interviewer’s perspective. I invite them to focus on what they need to be successful in their new role and explore how they can add value to their new employer. This injects pace and passion to the interview. Speaking the employer’s language and presenting yourself as someone who can solve problems will help you position yourself as a business partner, allowing you to make that vital connection with the interview board.

They use their own voice

Reveal yourself, speak in your own words. It’s easy to fall into “interview mode.” Many people use formal language in interviews and talk at the interview panel. Using your own voice gives you much more power and impact.

They take a risk

Particularly at executive interviews, it’s important to take a risk. By staying on the fence and not expressing your opinions, you risk coming across as vanilla.

Taking a position, allows you to demonstrate your communication and emotional intelligence skills and show cases your ability to influence stakeholders.

Join the dots

Understand the internal and external challenges your new employer is facing. Highlight examples of where you’ve overcome similar challenges, and illustrate how your experience would be of value to them.

They know how to make an exit

When a race is tight, every second counts. How you close an interview is important and influences how the panel will remember you. Asking insightful questions can help positon you as having deep understanding into the challenges faced by the business and allow you to showcase your strategic thinking.


Remember, bring your whole self to the interview. Your body language and tone of voice will be important ingredients in conveying trust and empathy; essential qualities for anyone in leadership roles.

About the author
Laura McGrath is an Executive Coach with a background in recruitment and career coaching. She has a post graduate qualification in Executive Coaching from the IMI and has been a guest lecturer with Trinity College Dublin and TU Dublin. For more information call 087 669 1192.

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