An Executive Interview Guide for the CxO Candidate

Congratulations, you’ve scheduled an interview! Now what? Are you confident enough in the agility and eloquence of your communication that you feel like you can walk into the interview room and wing it? Or are you more introverted and despise the idea of having to “put yourself out there,” despite your inside-out and upside-down expertise in your technical area? Either way, executive interviews are highly unique conversational environments and are a vital part of an executive job transition. They deserve forethought and preparation, no matter how many you have done before. This is your chance to make a lasting first impression and establish trust with relative strangers. Every company and every interviewer will have different styles and different needs. When preparing your talking points, think about speaking to your metric-driven accomplishments and your people and business leadership qualities, focusing on aligning the details to the responsibilities of the role in question.

How to Prepare for and Conduct an Executive Interview

  • Be a leader. You can demonstrate your leadership abilities right off the bat by turning the tables and asking the interviewer what the role entails and what kind of qualities they are looking for in the successful candidate. Not only will this demonstrate leadership, but it will give you your talking points for the rest of the interview.
  • Be a consultant. An executive interview is a 2-way conversation, not an interrogation. Ask questions throughout the interview, aiming for 1 question for every 3 or 4 asked of you. Doing so will demonstrate communication abilities and allow you to address their issues and goals further.
  • Be calm. Don’t let nerves get the best of you and be careful not to come across as defensive or frustrated at any time. An interview is an excellent real-life example of how you react in stressful situations, so you want to make sure you maintain and portray a level head.
  • Be positive. At the end of the interview, say something positive about the conversation, company, position, or product/service. This is your chance to end on a high note, so tell them you are excited about the opportunity and want the position if that’s how you feel.
  • Be thorough. After several interviews and perhaps a lengthy selection process, it can be challenging for an employer to keep candidates straight. Help them out by sending a branded thank you letter that briefly identifies a couple of topics you discussed together and reminds them of some of your achievements that align with their goals. You can also provide a page of third-party testimonials or endorsements from your professional network to build the trust needed when filling executive leadership positions.

To find out how we can help you perfect your executive interview techniques, book a complimentary and confidential call with us here.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.