As a senior level recruiter for San Francisco Fortune 500 companies as well as many innovative tech start-ups, I was often tasked with recruiting and hiring leaders in tech, finance, e-commerce, and other industries. When I elicited feedback after management candidates had their interviews with my hiring managers, the first comments would often be related to “executive presence.”
I’d hear comments such as, “From the first sentence or two, I had a feeling that they could do well in this job.” Or, “They really seem to ‘get it.'” These comments were related to gravitas, that X-factor relating to the candidate’s confidence level, their communication skills, and their ability to have a vision and a lead. While hiring decisions have to assess a candidate’s skills, accomplishments, and probability of being successful from day one, they are also based on less tangible leadership qualities that the candidate may or may not convey. You could be turned down if you can’t exude it. How can you improve?
If you are preparing for a leadership interview for the first time, or if you’ve been interviewing and not getting job offers, you may want to assess how effectively you are eliciting “executive presence” during your interviews. I’m an expert in helping executives both new and seasoned prepare for their interviews so that they make an impression that enables them to land their dream jobs.
Tips for improving your “executive presence” in interviews
1. Make sure that your video background, microphone quality, and the way you’re dressed enhance your brand.
100% of interviews are conducted by video right now. Your video background, microphone sound quality, what you’re wearing, and your overall grooming are being evaluated, and all of these are part of the initial perception your interviewer is making of you. Make sure that your impression is polished and professional; just because the dress code is extremely casual in the company for which you’re interviewing doesn’t give you the license to be too dressed down. Your interview outfit should elevate your brand, not detract from it. If you are too corporate, or just too casual, your impression could really fall flat. I evaluate each client’s executive appearance and help you shape an image that is memorable in a positive way.
2. Clearly and concisely articulate your value at every interview.
Vague answers to behavioral questions that attempt to evaluate your leadership abilities will guarantee a rejection after your interview. Are you articulating compelling success stories that further your value, or do your stories fall flat and run on and on with little value? How can you really know this unless you have an expert observe the impression you make?
3. Your questions are just as important as your answers.
Are you still asking the same tired questions in interviews that everyone else does? Your questions should elicit conversation with the hiring manager and further your excitement about and knowledge of the company, along with their pain points. I’ll help you develop a strategy of the right questions to ask.
4. Confidence, confidence, confidence.
When interviewing for leadership roles, there is an expectation that the candidate must convey confidence. You simply won’t get hired to manage others if you can’t convey confidence in your body language, speech, dress, demeanor, etc. How do you really know that you convey confidence? Part of my job as your interview coach is to be transparent about what you are conveying to your interviewer. My feedback is constructive, but I will not hesitate to call out issues that may be getting in the way of the impression you are making.
5. Communicating effectively
Another advantage to hiring me to work with you on your interview performance is my ability to call out speech patterns that could negatively be affecting your executive presence. Until clients work with me often, they are just not aware of speech patterns they engage in that minimize their value or negatively impact the gravity of their answers. In my client mock interview sessions, I call out speech patterns that could be detracting from the positive impression you are making. Sometimes, we are not aware of these issues.
6. Body language, eye contact, and facial expressions
By hiring an interview coach, you will receive transparent feedback on things that you can’t possibly evaluate on your own. Is your eye contact being perceived as direct during your video interview, or are you coming off as aloof? Is your body language conveying confidence or self-doubt? Is your warm personality shining through – or is your nervousness making you seem overly serious? You are not only being evaluated to see if you have the right skills and work experience, but in addition, can you fit on this team, and will people be motivated to follow your vision? You can’t possibly evaluate these intangibles on your own, but with so much research telling us that an impression is being made about you in the first 30 seconds of your interview, wouldn’t it make sense to get some objective, expert feedback?
I’d like to have a conversation with you to find out more about your situation and how I can help you to get ready for your upcoming leadership interviews. Together, we will ensure that you exhibit executive presence in each step of your interview process so that you can land your dream job offer and be highly compensated.
I offer a free consultation that you can schedule by clicking here.
I look forward to our conversation!