[September 24, 2013] Whenever senior executive leaders are being interviewed for a prominent position, they will be asked questions that fall into distinct categories. Of course, like in any interview, success is predicated upon a high level of preparation.
But what makes a senior leader executive truly successful in an interview means that one must understand what makes a potential employer ask a specific question. And the origins of those questions, most likely, are the same regardless of company.
The form of the question will vary. It could be open-ended, a favorite. It could be based upon the leader’s experience, very common. It could be based upon a generated scenario. The interviewer, if smart, is looking for your ability to think on your feet and get a basic answer from you.
The four distinct categories are:
- The first category of questions target the senior leader’s “motivation”. What they are getting at is whether the leader has the passion and drive to get the job done. Motivation is one of the most difficult to instill and they know a highly motivated person will have the energy to be successful.
- The second category of questions target leader “skills”. What are the technical, administrative, managerial, leader, and interpersonal talent (such as conflict management) that you have developed and refined over time? They are looking to see if you have what it takes to get the job done.
- The third category of questions target whether a leader is a good “fit” for the organization. There is the concern that good employees may be driven away and that organizational mission and goals may be sacrificed unintentionally by the wrong leader.
- The last category of questions revolves around senior leader “values” – specifically ethics. Doing the right thing by the organization is important. There will be direct questioning of your value system. Best to expect a good number of comments here, for they want to know if you can be trusted.
How these questions will be asked can be as different as the interviewer.
The opportunity to show yourself is found right here in the interview. This is not what will get you hired, but the interview discovery process is designed to remove the good leader from the exceptional leader. Depth of preparation is the key to showing your exceptionalism.