Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Interviewing for my first C-Level Executive role: things to read, do, etc.?

Q. I'm interviewing for my first C-Level executive role (technology) for a mid-size company; I've worked my way up in larger corporations to leadership roles, but never interviewed for this level of a position - talking the executive talk, etc. is all new to me. I'd like to prepare myself: are there particularly useful online or offline writings I should read, exercises, etc.?

A. You identify important changes that are worth attention.

1. A C-level role will probably require you to work with the board of directors and investors, and be familiar with legal and regulatory matters in ways that you have not previously.

2. A C-level role will probably require you to exercise leadership and management control over a broader range of functions than you have previously.

3. In terms of leadership styles, management methods and business processes, a mid-size company is likely to have a culture that is quite a different from the large company culture you're used to.

Searches of the management literature will quickly identify relevant book and articles. My priority, however, would be to first learn what I could from any people you can find who have successfully made one or more of these transitions.

Because you are interviewing, this company has already identified some valuable package of talent, skill, experience and potential that you have. It will be important to explore, both in preparation and during your interview, how those attributes may be advantageous and/or challenged by these changes. As you consider the transitions you will also identify those aspects of your experience to emphasize and some specific questions you might ask.

The interviewers already know that much of your new role will be a new for you. Any attempt to pretend otherwise will be very transparent.

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