Executives have been on many interviews throughout their career and any number of interview questions may come to mind as the most important. But, the universal all-encompassing question that can make or break an interview is (or a variation):
“Why should we hire you?”
Before you dismiss this as a so-so question, consider the scenario: the hiring manager is looking at the top three executives to fill the job. All things being more or less equal, what would be the top three points that distinguish you as the best candidate?
1.What you say and how you say it. Yes, presentation at this stage of your job search is especially important. You are literally fighting for the top spot and need to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are the right person.
Do your homework before the interview and review the job description. You will know the key skills the company is looking for and can point out solid qualifications and relevant experiences you have that are key to this position. Be clear, confident and convincing.
If your background is not an exact match, point out how the skills you do have translate to the position they are filling. Bridge the gap and make it easy for them to see your transferrable skills.
2.Bring out the softer side of you. Executives live in the tough world of leadership and don’t often show the soft skills that are also important in their job. Companies want leaders that people want to work with and for. You need to show your ability to work cohesively with others, as well as your passion and expertise. Reference clear examples that convey that message.
Present the entire package, not only as the executive leader, but as a sports fan, runner, sailboat enthusiast, or whatever interests you. Let the interviewer see your personality come through. As you chat make sure your ability to converse and build rapport with others is evident.
3.Position yourself as a solution to the problem. Take examples from the job description and the interview thus far, and mirror those back with your qualifications. For example, “From our conversation, it sounds like you are looking for an executive who thrives in a quick-paced environment and can tackle challenging situations. I am highly motivated by just this types of scenario. For example, at company XYZ a similar situation arose……. You’ll see that I’ve proven myself and am the perfect candidate for the job.”
If you succeed in your presentation at the interview, the question becomes “why wouldn’t they hire me?” The decision on their side should be a no-brainer.