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Preps & Steps For Your Next Executive Career Step

By Marika Akers

The interview process has become much more fluid over the last year and as a candidate you may be asked to participate in one or all formats during the interview process. To help you prepare, we have created some Interview Preps & Steps to consider for each format.

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Phone Interview: While phone interviews often feel less formal than in-person or even video, it is still important to treat the interview with the same attention to detail. Phone interviews are often the first step and critical to your chances of moving forward.

  • While a phone call can be taken from anywhere, it is important that you choose a quiet area with no distractions. In a pinch, your car might be the best option! (Just not in a drive-thru…true story!)
  • If taking the call from your cell phone, consider signal strength. A phone interview can go sideways quick with spotty reception!
  • Make those around you aware of your important meeting to minimize distractions/ interruptions.
  • Do not overcommit your schedule on the day of the interview. Make sure you have time before to properly prep for the call and time after in case it runs a few minutes over scheduled time.
  • Watch your pace! When nervous we tend to speak quickly. Breathe, slow down and let your talents shine through!
  • Because you cannot read body language in a phone interview, take time to check-in with your interviewer. If you have been talking a long-time, take a pause and ask a question. Keep your interviewer engaged with your story.
  • Stay engaged throughout the call! Turn off notifications and devices- the emails & texts can wait until after your interview!
  • Be informed! About the role, company, and your interviewers. Also, think about what you want to get out of the interview, what is important for you to know after the interview that will help you determine if this is the right role for you.
  • Follow up with a thank you email. The little gestures matter!


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Video Interview Prep: Video interviewing has become a vital tool in determining finalist selection, so take time to consider and prepare for the key elements of your video interview a day or two before to ensure a much smoother and relaxed interview day.

  • Locate a private and quiet space with a pleasing background to conduct your video interview.
  • Is your background too cluttered? Consider setting up in front of a simple wall.  You do not need to redecorate before an interview!
  • If you conduct the interview from outside your home, make sure it is a private space where you will be undisturbed for at least 15 minutes before and after your scheduled interview.
  • Consider time of interview and lighting- will there be sun glare, or do you need more lighting?
  • Inform those around you of your important meeting to limit noise and distractions.
  • While they are rooting for you, furry officemates should not attend the interview.
  • If possible, plan to log in from your computer instead of phone for better video clarity.
  • Use headphones to minimize background noise. No headphones? No problem. Use mute when others are speaking but remember to turn your sound back on when it is your turn to speak!
  • TEST all connections & setting prior to interview!  Do you have the video link? Strong internet signal? Audio working? Camera view/ angle on point?
  • Technical difficulties happen!! Wi-Fi down? Personal Hotspot available? Be prepared!
  • If new to the video format, practice or set up an account to make sure you know how it works!
  • Be Informed! Review details about the job, company press releases, annual reports, and the interviewer’s background. This will help build your confidence, calm your nerves, and spark curiosity about the role. It is always evident when a candidate is “winging it†or comes into a conversation prepared.

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Video Interview: Treat the interview as if you were sitting across the table instead of the screen. Positive body language, posture and character still matter over video!

  • Wear professional attire as you would if meeting in person.
  • Turn off all phone/computer notifications to limit distractions.
  • Have all your notes/ questions off to the side for easy access and quick review.
  • Glass of water at the ready if needed.
  • Look into camera when speaking. Eye contact or the impression of eye contact is still important!
  • Focus on your interviewers and not your own image! Consider turning off the mirror image to minimize distractions.
  • Write down any notes during your interview instead of typing- the noise may be distracting.
  • Stay engaged, ask questions, be yourself and let your talents shine! At this stage questions should be more focused on content and goals of role. Save your compensation questions for the next round or chat with the recruiter about this beforehand.
  • Disconnect at the conclusion of the video and follow up with a thank you email.


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In-Person Interview:  Especially now, the in-person interview is reserved for the select few and is often the last critical step in determining whether there is a fit for the company and candidate. The mutual fit is critical to ensuring the long-term success and satisfaction between the company and candidate.

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In-Person Interview Prep: Taking time to prepare for the site interview a few days in advance of your visit is a vital step in ensuring the day is a positive experience for you and the company.

  • Plan your professional attire and be sure to ask if there are any specific requirements or dress-code you should follow.
  • Interview location- are you traveling near or far?
  • If local, do you have address and necessary instructions for arrival?
  • If out of state, do you have all necessary reservation details and location instructions?
  • Are there any COVID-19 tests, questionnaires that need to be completed upon arrival?
  • Masks may be required during the duration of a site interview. Do you have a mask you feel comfortable talking in? You may want to consider practicing having conversations with others in your selected mask to build confidence in your ability to effectively communicate while masked.
  • Be informed! Know as much as you can about the role, company, and your interviewers. Review press releases, financial statements, and other information relevant to the company, interviewees and role you are being considered for.
  • Consider what you want to get out of the interview. It is just important for you to do your own assessment of the team and company. What is important for you to know after the interview that will help you determine if this is the right role and company fit for you?

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In-Person Interview Day: “Use your authentic voice and share from your heart. Be Real. Be You. Tell Your Story†~Arianna Meritt

  • Arrive a few minutes early and follow all instructed sign-in protocols.
  • The meet and greet will vary from company to company so it will be important to follow the social cues of the interview team on the appropriate way to manage intros.
  • Stay open minded and flexible to potential schedule changes during your visit. This is not uncommon and should not be taken as a lack of interest in you as a candidate.
  • Pay attention to the team interaction and engagement across functions. Culture fit is as important as the technical fit. Can you envision yourself working with the team and in the business environment?
  • Ask the same question during your various interviews to compare/contrast answers from the different interviewers. This can be a telling exercise in better understanding the team dynamics of the organization.
  • After completing your interview write down your initial thoughts/impressions of the organization and team. This will help you reflect on your experience and determine if this is the right role for you.
  • Send a thank you and any follow up comments/questions to the individuals you met with.