Stepping up into an executive role from middle management can be challenging, as senior roles demand a certain level of experience, skills and confidence. Believing that you deserve an executive position, and that you will excel in it, is essential in order to secure a job at this level, and taking the time to prepare yourself thoroughly will help you to do this.
Securing a job at any level requires you to prove that you are capable and can bring valuable skills and experience to the role. In an executive role, this is even more important since you are likely to be managing others and acting as a figurehead within the organisation.
The following tips can help you to stand out from the crowd when you are applying for an executive role:
• Find out as much as possible about the company. Whenever you attend an interview, you should research the company you are applying to, but this research should be in much greater depth when you are interested in an executive role. For example, you should be familiar with the company accounts published online, and you should be able to compare these with those of competitors and similar institutions during your interview if it is relevant. You should also find out if the company has been in the media recently, and be prepared to discuss the positive and negative implications of this with your interviewer.
• Balance theory with practice. As a potential leader within the company, you will need to have a good understanding of relevant theory and philosophy. It is vital, however, to balance this with practical examples of when you have applied your theoretical knowledge to situations that have arisen in the past. This will show that you are well versed in management theory and that you can use it in real scenarios to create positive outcomes.
• Practise your attitude! When you step into an interview room, your attitude is as important as the answers you give to the interviewer. Practise walking in confidently, meeting the eye of the interviewer and relaxing into the situation, even if you are feeling nervous. Finding ways to put yourself at ease can be very helpful, and taking a few deep breaths or picturing yourself celebrating success can give you the boost you need to get started in a challenging situation.
• Ask questions. You should aim to demonstrate that you have the right attitude for a senior position, and one important way to do this is by asking intelligent and relevant questions. This can be a positive demonstration of your perceptive nature, and can help to shift the power balance within the interview room so that it becomes more like a conversation between equals.
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CareerWise is Ireland’s leading specialist recruitment firm, based in Cork, Shannon, Galway and Mayo, and our professional team can help you to find the new position you are looking for. Contact us online now or call us on +353 (0) 21 206 1900 to arrange a consultation.
Brian Flynn has a number of years’ high level experience in executive search, particularly within the pharmaceutical, biotech and agribusiness sectors.
He has also held senior HR positions with Schering Plough and Glaxo Smith Kline, and is a former Regional Director with IBEC.
He has a Masters degree in Psychology, is a Fellow of the CIPD, and a former member of the National Committee of the CIPD.
He has also lectured in HR and Psychology at WIT and NUI Maynooth.
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