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Simple research methods to differentiate yourself at executive interview

by: Ruaidhri | Posted September 19, 2017

One of the core principles that we instil in our clients competing for executive interviews is the need to position themselves as a tangible, future colleague, as opposed to being ‘candidate-number-4-of-8-that-happens-to-be the-last-candidate-before-lunch’. We need to ensure that they can achieve cut through and resonance with their interviewers in order for them to be seen adding value to the role on offer.

Anything less than this and they run the risk of not standing out from their competitors – which is a risk we cannot afford to take when they are competing against other excellent candidates for a competitive executive position.

In your approach to your preparation for your interview, one important element that can help you achieve differentiation from your competitors is the level of research that you undertake into your potential future employer.  It is worth noting that in general, there is a huge amount of high level information and insight that can be gained from researching a company online, or – where possible – by talking to someone within the organisation.

This does not necessarily need to be top secret stuff – but from reading articles that have appeared on your target company on Google, looking at the competitive landscape in which they operate, how current affairs might have an impact on their performance, reading up on their LinkedIn pages, researching who are the main players. The list goes on and on, and the more research you do the more you can start to frame your interview pitch around the tangible differences that you can make within your potential new role.

This research is not meant to position you as someone who has ‘all the answers’.

But what it will do is enable you to speak your interviewer’s language. Visualising yourself in the role allows you to present your thoughts and insights in a way that will communicate the impact that you can make on their business – from their perspective.

It can be easy to fall into the mode of telling the interview all the wonderful and great things that you have done in your career.

The potential pitfall here is that you are leaving it up to the interviewers to decipher your past experiences and insights in a way that enables them to picture you in the new role, which is not always that easy for them to do. Good quality research and planning for the future development of the role can play an important part in enhancing your ability to frame your insights and experiences from the perspective of the interviewers. The more successful you are in positioning yourself as someone who can seamlessly transition into solving challenges that your potential employer faces, the better chance you have of executive interview success.


Ruaidhrí Finnegan is a communications consultant at Communiqué International, where his focus is on executive job interview preparation. Communiqué International’s tested communication methodologies and frameworks ensure that our candidates extract the full value from their past experiences and communicate their full potential in a competitive interview. Whether you are thinking of starting your job search, have a job interview coming up or simply wish to improve your communications skills in your current role, the team at Communiqué can assist you.

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