Today, I want to talk to you about how you can ace an interview with a CEO.

So, CEOs are going to interview from a different perspective than a regular hiring manager or someone in HR. They are going to hit you from a side that you just have not been hit from before. They’re not going to ask you all the common questions, like “Tell me about yourself and what are your accomplishments? What are your weaknesses?” Now, we’re going to dig a little bit deeper. And here’s what you need to be like in the interview.

So, first thing, you need to be passionate and enthusiastic about the job and the company. And that needs to just resonate; that energy from inside you just need to resonate in the interview, so they can just see it and feel it.

And it can’t just be in your voice. It has to be in your body language and your posture and everything else. You need to be passionate and enthusiastic about the job and everything about that company and the value that you can bring to them.

Most important, you want to show them that you are aligned with their company vision, that you understand them and that you can make a difference.

Number two, talk about related accomplishment. Don’t just talk about your job description duties. You want to talk about things that you have done in your last job that are related to this position. You don’t want to talk about stuff that isn’t related because it doesn’t mean anything; it has no value. You are trying to connect your past experience to what this company is looking for.

So, the best way to do this is first get a good understanding of that job description; what they’re looking for specifically. Then you go through your own past experience and you look for related accomplishments that they might be interested in hearing that connect with what their needs are. And that way you can go in there and you can be on the same level when you’re talking to them. Make sense? All right.

Number three, understand the company and the job that you are applying to. Do some research on this company. Look them up, study them. And don’t just look on their website. Google their name, see if they’re mentioned in any other magazines or write ups or articles.

Learn as much as you can about them. What’s important to them? What’s their vision? What’s their mission? So, you can go in there and talk to them like you have an idea of what they’re doing, what they’re facing, what their reputation is in the industry.

And you should be prepared if they ask you, “What do you know about our company?” And if you just say, “Well, I kind of know that you guys are a great place to work.” That isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to have to give them some meat that you understand and that you know and that you’ve read about them.

And it would also help if you knew a little bit about the person that you were interviewing with. Looking them up on LinkedIn. Read that CEO’s bio. Read all the places that they’ve worked. That way, when you go in there, you can say, “Well, Mr. Jones, I see that you worked at General Electric 15 years ago. How did you like that?” or “Why did you move from there to here?”

Little questions like that, engaging the person that you’re interviewing with is another thing that they’re looking for. And you’re asking them about their own personal career choices. They’re going to be happy to talk about that. People love talking about themselves and they love it when people ask them questions about themselves. All right, moving on here.

Number four, challenge them. Ask them questions that challenge them. Don’t just sit there and answer all their questions. I mean, an interview is a conversation and you want to challenge them on things.

You want to challenge them on the direction that they’re going or products that they have. Ask them about failed products that they had. I mean, if they’re a public company, they’re probably in the news. So, you can ask them questions about, “Why your stock price so low right now?” or “Do you think you guys are going to recover from that?”

Push them. Make them sell you on working there. That’s really what an executive is going to expect from you. You need to challenge them to a point where, not that they’re necessarily defending themselves, but they’re kind of explaining themselves to you. And at the same time, they’re trying to sell you on themselves.

So, if you’re not pushing in, challenging them and going into some rough waters with them, they’re just going to think you’re weak and CEOs are looking for strong minded, driven people.

Number five, let them know what makes you tick. What motivates you? What gets you out of bed in the morning? Let them know why you do what you do. Let them know that you’re excited about your work. And not only that, you’re excited, but why you’re excited. Why it gets you out of bed in the morning. Why you are passionate about it.

Don’t just say, “I love what I do.” Dig deep and show them who you are, why you are and how you’ve come to this point in your career.

When you’re really dealing with a CEO, you’re interviewing for a leadership position. So, you need to demonstrate to them that you’re a leader. Why are you a leader?

I mean, if you’re going to leave a hundred people, what’s motivating you to lead those hundred people? Those hundred people are going to look to you for leadership. So, you’re going to have to motivate them. And if you don’t have anything that motivates you or you can’t express that, then you’re not cut out for the C-Suite. Make sense?

All right, moving on here to number six. Be a great conversationalist. Talk. Engage. Show them that you’re interested in what they do. You’re interested in that individual. You’re interested in their vision, their mission, the people and everything about them.

And talk to them, humanly. Don’t just think this is an interview where are you going to sit there and answer all of their questions. Engage them back. Talk to them. Have a meaningful conversation. Show them that you can carry on a conversation with them. Show them that they can challenge you and you can challenge them back.

When you first go into the company, strike up a conversation with the receptionist. Strike up a conversation with maybe the Human Resources Director or anybody else that you meet along the way. Because all of those people are going to weigh in on the decision to hire you. And if they think you’re a great conversationalist and you’re interested in other people and you’re talking, that’s going to help them gauge as to whether you’re going to be a fit around here.

And I can pretty much assure you that the person who goes in there and doesn’t say anything and just holds everything they have to say until they get the interview, those people kind of come across as a little bit flat. And you want to show them that you are willing and openly engaging and conversing with other people.

And that’s how people get to know you. I mean, when you start talking, all these other people, they’re like, “Oh, that Don guy. He’s so nice. He was so pleasant. He was asking about me. He was asking about my office.” Whatever. That’s how you win with CEO.

Number seven; culture fit. I mean, you can have all of the experience in the world. You can be the perfect match. You can have everything they need. But if you don’t blend or gel with their culture, you’re out.

And there’s a reason for that. If you’re not going to fit in with their culture, that means that there’s just one tiny piece about you that isn’t quite right. That means you’re not on the same page as all of these other people. And chances are, if they bring you in, that you’re not going to understand the people that already work there and they’re not going to understand you and they’re going to have this kind of this mismatch there of management and employees. And that doesn’t work.

So, culture fit is everything; you need to be aligned with who they are, where they’re going. And you need to believe in it. You need to believe in their mission, their goals, whatever they are. You need to be passionate about that.

And we’ve already covered passion in one of these other ones. And if you notice a lot of these different steps, there’s a little bit of overlap in each one that carries on to the next.

Last one here I have here is number eight. CEOs are going to hire the least risky candidate. That’s right; the candidate who poses the least risk to the organization. Not the most qualified, not the most experienced, the one they think they can get the job done, the most talented individual that they think can do the job that also poses the least risk.

I mean, think about it. If they bring you into the company and you’re not a 100 percent culture fit, other people who are working with you might not like to work with you because you’re not on the same level. If you’re not on the same level, they might leave. They may like, “Oh, my gosh. I don’t like this new Don guy; this new vice president. He’s such a jerk. He doesn’t understand us.” And then those people, their own high-performing A players, end up quitting.

So, that’s why a CEO is going to hire the least risky candidate; one that poses the least risk to the organization, the mission, the vision and the people who already work there.

And you need to keep that in mind; it’s not all about the experience and what you know. It’s are you going to work out long-term? They don’t want to hire somebody who’s just going to come in and work six months to a year and then is gone. They want someone who’s going to work there two years, three years, five years, 10 years, and they’re going to hire the person that poses the least risk to that position, the employees, the company and everything else.

All right, my friend. It’s all I got for you today. And one more thing. Before your next interview, you go ahead and grab a copy, even though this is with the CEO. This little book here. This little top 10 book is going to teach you how to answer some of the common questions.

I mean, CEOs still might ask you, “So, Don, tell me a little bit about yourself.” But they’re not going to ask you necessarily all of these questions. But learning how to answer these questions is going to help you, in the interview, answer all their questions that they ask. It’s going to kind of give you the right framework to use in your answers.

All right. So, you can get that free book from

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