Senior Professionals: Making an impression during an interview

As a senior professional, it’s likely that you’ve had one or two interviews during your career to get you where you are today. But even with this prior experience, if it’s been a while since your last interview, you might be a little out of practice and out of touch with the modern interview process. 

 But don’t worry. While the style of interview might be slightly different to what you’re used to, the key to acing an interview remains the same; impressing the interviewer. However, as a senior professional, you’ll need to use slightly different tactics than a first-time interviewer to achieve this. 

So if you’ve got an interview coming up and you want to confidently knock the socks off your interviewer, here’s our tips for making a great impression during an interview when you’re senior professional. 

Start  building relationships now 

You might think that you don’t need to network at such an early stage of the job-hunting process. But in actual fact, networking can show that you’re an adept communicator whose got real initiative and the drive to start building relationships. With communication continuing to be one of the most sought after skills by interviewers, proving that you can do it confidently will definitely work in your favour. 

Understandably you can’t drop into the company’s offices before your interview and start chatting to people. So instead, use LinkedIn to find the company page and its employees. Introduce yourself over a direct message to the employees who are in similar positions to the one you’re going for, explain that you have an upcoming interview with their company and ask for their guidance and insight. Remember they know the ins and outs of the company, so take their advice and use it to help you better prepare for your interview.  

Also, don’t forget to mention that you’ve been in touch with these employees during your interview to highlight the extra work you’ve put into your preparations and to say thank you to them afterwards. 

Do your homework 

It’s one of the oldest interview preparation tricks in the book, but it’s one that continues to be just as effective. You’re never going to impress your interviewer if you don’t know anything about the company you’ve applied to work for. So even though this might not be your first interview, it’s just as important to invest some time beforehand to doing thorough research into the company. 

To make a memorable impression, this research into the company needs to go beyond just what the company does. You’ll be expected to have a strong grasp on the challenges the company faces, its financial situation and its biggest competitors. To find out this kind of information, you can visit the company website, read blogs, business news articles and employee reviews and by looking at public records. Also, scour the websites of their competitors to find out what they are doing and how the company you’re interviewing with compares. 

Being able to converse about these things during your interview will not only convey your knowledge and understanding but also shows that you’re already two steps ahead. 

Prepare for  competency-based questions 

Your interviewer is likely to ask you questions that will determine whether or not your leadership and working style is a good fit for the existing team in place. They will also want reassurance that you can deliver results. To help them make this assessment, they might use competency-based questioning; an increasingly popular interview method which aims to find out how the interviewee approaches problems, tasks and challenges. 

So, if you want to make a great impression, be prepared to answer some hard-hitting questions about your past experiences, both good and bad. Pinpoint and reflect on some difficult leadership challenges you’ve faced during your career, how you addressed them and their end results. You could even talk about what you would have done differently in hindsight, to add some extra authenticity to your example. 

This is a prime moment to highlight your leadership, communication and strategic skills, so use this storytelling opportunity to articulate these strengths and how you intend to use them in the role you’re interviewing for. This is bound to grab the attention of the interviewer and help you really stand out against your competitors. 

Don’t forget that even though you’re a senior professional, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be let off from some of the basic rules of interview etiquette. So in addition to using our expert tips, make sure you also turn up to your interview on time and looking the part. That way, impressing your interviewer will be a piece of cake. 

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Jon Woolley

18th October

Career Advice