A senior position means better pay, a larger office, and regular bonuses, but it also comes with immense responsibilities, the need to navigate office politics, and sometimes manage the people you’ve worked with for years. Before you apply for an executive position and get an interview invitation, make sure you are ready for what’s ahead. We won’t bore you with the same old interview tips. Instead, we suggest you interview yourself. Take five minutes and answers these questions honestly.
Do I Know Enough About the Company?
Like getting married, a senior position is a commitment, so you must be sure before getting down on one knee. If the company policy, mission, philosophy, products, or any other aspects do not line up with your moral compass or beliefs, the raise won’t be worth it. You will feel stressed and uncomfortable, your performance will falter, and you will ultimately have to leave, either of your own free will or because you get fired.
Even if you move up the career ladder within the same company, research the daily requirements of the job. Try to talk to people at your intended management level and learn more about their schedule and responsibilities. You might learn their workdays last 16 hours, and your desire to move up the ranks will abate.
If you consider moving to another company, study its website and social media presence, browse news headlines and connect with a couple of current employees through LinkedIn. Glassdoor will help you assess the employer rating while publicly available financial reports will give you an understanding of the company’s strategy and recent successes or failures. Once you are satisfied with the potential employer, review their competition to get a better feeling of the niche and feel more confident during the interview.
Do I Have What It Takes to Be a Leader?
If you read a dictionary definition of a leader, you will never have the courage to apply for a managerial position. However, most companies are not looking for a cookie-cutter department head or vice-president. Instead, they are looking for a strong personality with knowledge, experience, and skills that complement their team and line up with the company philosophy and vision.
Study the job posting carefully and consider hard and soft skill requirements. At the senior management level, they are way more important than at the beginning of your career. The most likely qualities you are expected to possess include leader mindset, the ability to motivate yourself and others, teamwork, and more. Leaders must strive in high-stress situations, make quick decisions, and take responsibility for the whole team. Multitasking and time-management are vital if you want to survive the move up the career ladder without going crazy in a month.
There is no harm in trying your hand at management. However, if you feel overwhelmed just thinking about delegating, mitigating conflicts, or staying late, you should reconsider applying. There are many ways to increase your income without undue stress of managerial work. If you are 100% set on your goal, move onto the next question.
Can I Successfully Communicate with Employees and Managers?
Outstanding communication and conflict management skills are among the most sought-after qualities in senior managers. Without the ability to understand the employees’ needs, delegate tasks, and assign responsibilities, the manager is nothing but an inefficient one-person team. With zero results to your name, the higher-ups will soon realize hiring you was a mistake.
It’s not enough to declare your soft skills on the resume or state them during an interview. Support your claims with anecdotes from your professional or personal experience. Debate team victories are well and good for a starter position, but as a future manager, you should tell stories of your successful negotiations with partners, sales pitches, or the times you talked down a distressed coworker. Don’t list all the situations that demonstrate your communication prowess. Instead, choose one or two anecdotes that highlight your leadership style and skills from different angles, emphasizing your persuasive and motivational qualities.
Am I Ready to Answer Uncomfortable Questions?
Remember your first job interview ever. Your palms were cold and sweaty, your breathing was fast and erratic, and your answers were stuttering and unsure. Despite the years of professional experience, the hiring committee can reduce you to the same uncomfortable state with their invasive questioning. There is no way around this, so you might as well get ready for them to look at your shortcomings under a microscope. Here is a list of likely interview questions that might give you the trouble:
- How do you handle disagreements with higher management when you know you are right?
- What were the causes of your most significant professional failure?
- How do you handle high-stress situations?
- Can you put your personal feelings aside when handling interpersonal conflict in your team?
- How do you handle an underperforming employee who used to be your friend?
Your answers must be honest and concise. However, you can tell short anecdotes that illustrate your responses. If you don’t know how to reply, default to the position requirements and factor them in your answers.
What Are My Achievements Outside the Workplace?
Robotization is taking over the workplace, but companies do not want their senior managers to be soulless machines with no interests and wishes outside the job. You should present yourself as a well-rounded and balanced personality with plenty of activities and accomplishments that do not revolve around your work.
While you can talk about your hobbies, focus on experiences relevant to the management position. For example, if you are the head of the PTA and regularly organize bake sales or trips for your kids, that’s a great blend of leadership skills and your family commitments. If you volunteer in an animal shelter or a soup kitchen, that can show your compassion. You can also talk about your personal achievements that add to your image, such as running a marathon, learning German, or writing a book.
You Have the Answers. What’s Next?
If the answers are “YES” across the board, you are ready to move up the career ladder, and your executive interview will go well. However, if you are not 100% sure about some answers, do your research, spend time navel-gazing, and decide whether now is the time for a shift. You might need extra time to gain more leadership experience or broaden your professional network.In case you need help with your resume or cover letter before the interview, let our expert writers take the weight off your shoulders. It’s up to you to close the deal during an interview, but we can translate your accomplishments and victories into HR-speak and make you look irresistible on paper. Reach out today to secure your dream job and a corner office!