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9 ways to ace the IT executive interview

Rich Hein | Aug. 13, 2013
Your networking and resume work has paid off. You finally landed an interview for your dream job as an IT executive and you couldn't be more excited. The only thing that stands between you and the executive washroom is the interview itself.

At the executive level you also need to have a keen understanding of what is going on within the business/industry that the company is a part of. You should be able to discuss industry trends and major events and unique challenges that the company has faced.

"You need to really understand the company, where it's going, where it's been and who's working there. When you're in the interview and you've done your homework, you sound smart. You already know what they are doing and you can focus on how you best fit in. Once you have all this data at your fingertips and you can begin to analyze and start to see how you fit into the company and how you can be the most impactful," says Dan Schawbel author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.

The bottom-line is that regardless of the level of job you are interviewing for, this type of preparation is necessary, but at the IT executive level you've got to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the company you're interviewing with and the industry in which they reside.

If possible you should also find out about the people you're interviewing with. The more you know about the person sitting across from you, the more comfortable you will feel having a conversation with them. The deeper the insight into the company you are targeting the easier it becomes to be the solution to their problems.

Know Which of Your Achievements Matter
"Optimally, the characteristics that the company seeks in a CIO will be conveyed in the job spec. If those have been made available, lining up one's past experiences to those specs and addressing the points one-by-one will be important," says High.

You have to know what differentiates you from the other IT executives and be able to incorporate that information into your career achievements. Simpsons recommends knowing five to eight success stories from your career that are applicable to the job you're applying for.

She also advises clients to create a list of three to four key points that they want to make, "those things they most want their interviewer to know about them, then concentrate on slipping these into the interview whenever appropriate," says Simpson.

Common Interview Questions
"Candidates are normally also asked to describe themselves, their personality, their leadership style and their career goals. Lastly, they should expect their resume to be used as an interview agenda, which means they must be prepared to answer any and all questions raised by the document," says Simpson.

Going through the mock interview which, we'll discuss later, will help you develop authentic and natural-sounding answers to these questions that cause many candidates to stammer or hesitate.


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