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How To Prepare For An Interview With A CEO

Preparing for an interview can be stressful. When you are told you’ll be meeting with the CEO, the stakes might feel even higher. After all, this type of interview often means that you’ve made it to one of the final rounds of the hiring process and you are being seriously considered for the position.

Now all you need to do is impress the CEO. Easy, right?

The added pressure can be intimidating, but if you know how to prepare for an interview with an executive leader, you’ll be one step closer to landing the job! Here are a few simple ways to set yourself up for success:

Do your research

The first general step in how to prepare for an interview still applies to your meeting with the CEO: research. While you may have done some extensive company research earlier on in the process, now is the time to get to know the CEO a little better. Read up on their career, their history with the company, and the accomplishments the company has made during their tenure as CEO. It might also be helpful to do a quick search for any profiles and articles they’ve been featured on. Your findings can give you more insight into the CEO’s values, goals, and successes.

Know who you are

Many CEOs might start off the interview by asking you to tell them a little bit about yourself. While this question may seem daunting, it can be relatively easy to answer with the right interview prep. Rather than your whole life story, the CEO is really looking for a well put together summary of your career and why you’re the right fit for the role.

A great way to answer this question, according to The Muse, is through the “present-past-future” formula. In this method, you can address the skills and experiences you’ve gained throughout your career, and why you are excited about the opportunity at hand.

Anticipate the unexpected

One of the best tips for how to prepare for an interview with a CEO is to anticipate unexpected questions. To get a better feel for your personality as well as how you think on your feet, the CEO could ask you questions that might not have anything to do with the position. While there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to these personality-based questions, your answer isn’t necessarily what the CEO is most focused on. They are more interested in learning more about your thought process, so try to confidently explain the reasoning behind your answer.

Ask questions

Interviews with CEOs can be long and grueling, so when it comes time to ask some questions of your own, it can be tempting to default to generic inquiries. However, this is not the time to lose focus. It’s your last opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the role and determine if this is the right fit for you. Take advantage of it by asking smart questions targeted to the CEO. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • How would you describe the company’s culture?
  • Where do you want the company to be in the next 3-5 years?
  • How do you view the department’s role in company growth?
  • What upcoming initiatives do you find particularly exciting?

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