How to Definitively Demonstrate Leadership Skills in an Executive Job Interview

When looking for an executive level position, you have to specifically show the employer with concrete examples that you can lead others—you can’t just say you have led teams and assume the executive recruiter will understand how.  Unfortunately, this seems to be an area where many executive job seekers tend to fumble.  Do you feel this describes you? As an accomplished, powerful executive, you have to outline to the potential employer that you are just as good in person as you are on paper. This often times requires you to explicitly state why you’re such a good leader which can feel somewhat uncomfortable. Below you’ll find some tips for overcoming any blocks you may have about showing your leadership qualities.

1.   Get over the fear of sounding conceited.

One reason people tend to shy away from talking about their leadership qualities is because they are afraid of sounding conceited. The reality is that a job interview isn’t a good time to be humble. If you are speaking of your accomplishments using hard facts and describing situations diplomatically, you are not bragging. You are telling a story with details that enable the listener to come to their own conclusion. There is nothing wrong with telling someone why you’re a good fit when it’s merited. Keep in mind that your potential employer wants you to be the perfect person for the job, otherwise they have to keep looking. So why not give them what they are looking for in a factual manner?

2.   Use the S.T.A.R. interviewing method.

S.T.A.R (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a formula you can use to tell an employer how you’ve saved the day. Think of a situation in your work history where your expertise and quick thinking were needed in order to solve a problem. You can then portray this to the employer in the form of a compelling story. Examples include handling discontent customers, saving the company money by finding an error, handling employee disputes, and making a sales process more efficient. There are countless of examples you can use to show them how you solved a big problem, just bear in mind that the story should make you look like the hero.

3.   Speak quantitatively during the interview.

People tend to be great at using numbers in their resume, but when it comes to actually talking about them they shy away from it. Employers not only like to see sales numbers and percentages on paper, they also want to hear about how you hit those marks. For instance, if your resume states that you increased company revenue by 30 percent, then you can bet they’ll want to hear about it during the interview. See if you can get your hands on some reports that actually show the numbers you have written on your resume and make sure to take it with you to the interview. Often times it’s easier to talk about numbers if we can actually show them. Failing to demonstrate leadership skills in an executive job interview is one of the most common ways that executive job seekers sabotage their chances of success. Make it easier on yourself by preparing with some of these techniques.


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