Interview Tips for Interim Executives

Mark James from Hire Consulting shares some great interview tips for interim executives.

Interim executives come with great experience, but that alone doesn’t open doors for them. Just like any other individual looking to join a company, they are often interviewed by companies gauging whether or not they’d make a good fit.

We spoke with Mark James from Hire Consulting who coaches executives and helps them further their careers. He gave us some great advice on what interim executives can do to breeze through client interviews.

Interview tips for interim executives – Research before the interview

Know the company you’ll be talking to. With data so readily available on the internet, it makes it easy to take advantage of it. Usually, the company’s website has more than enough information to help you understand the organization and their operations. Mark recommends studying the LinkedIn profile of the CEO and people working in the company before walking into the interview. It never hurts to be prepared.

Interview tips for interim executives – Doctor-patient method

“The job interviewee needs to pretend he or she is a doctor and the CEO client company is the patient. Find out where are the problems? What are the issues?” says Mark.

Mark’s analogy is great whether you are interviewing for a client opportunity or a full-time role. like a doctor, try and diagnose what the problem is and ask the right questions to identify symptoms. This approach shifts the conversation back to where the real focus should be: the company. Often, your expertise is shown more in the questions asked than the answers given.

Interview tips for interim executives – Ask the right questions

Asking questions shouldn’t be only left to the interviewer. Mark advises asking the right questions to have a meaningful discussion. The best question to start off with is ‘what didn’t the last CFO do that you really needed them to accomplish?’ if you’re applying as an interim CFO for example.

The data you’ll get from the interview is “liquid gold” according to Mark. It tells you exactly what results the company wants to be delivered and gives you an opening to tell a story of where you were in a similar position and how you handled it. Giving an example that hits the nail on the coffin will make you memorable and stand out from other applicants.

Steering the conversation towards your ability to solve issues can also help the interviewer know what to expect of you. “It’s a good barometer for a CEO to know the kinds of things that could be coming and the weaknesses; the things that didn’t happen, the challenges that were never met, and the goals that were not achieved,” says Mark.

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