Interview success in any field requires the demonstration of a most important skill – communication. Whether your expertise lies in leading teams, behavioral therapy, selling to clients, or building a successful marketing campaign, possessing the natural ability to communicate is imperative for both career and interview success.
Executives understand that communication is the primary vehicle for establishing trust and dialogue with their teams. After all, this is the foundation on which the leadership journey begins. But long before this relationship is built, the executives must first convey their knack for good communication skills with their potential employer and in some cases board members.
Regardless of how it’s articulated in career marketing materials, communication skills must be thoughtfully and successfully demonstrated during the interview. There are three ways to do so:
Body Language: Volumes are written on the importance of adopting appropriate body language to ensure interview success. Sitting up straight and offering a firm handshake are standards for communicating interest in the position. For executives, however, interview-appropriate body language should expand to include the posture and facial expression of a good listener and well as a leader. Nodding when appropriate, making good eye contact, leaning forward, and voiding all movements that imply distraction, ego, disinterest or boredom demonstrate your keen interest in what the speaker is saying. Using body language and expressions to communicate humility and passivity matter during an interview. Although it’s imperative to demonstrate expertise and strong leadership, it’s just as important to check your ego at the door.
Reflection and Interjection: Not only do team members want to be heard, but they want to be understood. The same goes for the interviewer. They need to be reassured that you, as the applicant, can not only communicate with your team but have mastered a communication approach for understanding any key issues or concerns. One way to do so is by asking questions and repeating back important points to reaffirm that you’ve heard and understand what they’re saying. Clearly articulating your responses to each question is another way to demonstrate your ability to calmly communicate well in stress-infused situations, not uncommon for executives. Moreover, interview success requires interjecting how you’re unique combination of skills, experience, and strengths can contribute to the organization’s growth and culture.
Knowledge and Tone: Speaking industry language ensures a strong understanding that you’re able to articulate your knowledge-based experience accordingly. Interview questions are designed to flesh out these qualifications along with your ability to put this expertise into action. Behavioral questions are often used when interviewing executives because they demand examples of how you’ve successfully navigated high-level challenges. The industry knowledge that you share during the interview process has a direct impact on your success. So does your tone. I can’t say it enough: check your ego at the door. While you are a strong leader and successful executive, coming in strong and overbearing will only turn off the interviewers. From the receptionist to the hiring manager, all organizational representatives should be impressed with your professional language and appropriate vocal pitch. Not only does tone expressed by the manner in which you speak, but also your inflection. A reassuring and respectful tone is a sought after quality in all executive candidates as it implies the candidate’s grasp of creating a warm and welcoming environment for their team.