HOW TO WIN A SEAT AT THE TABLE  – Competing for a Leadership Role

Ready for a leadership position?  Good for you.  Interviews for a management or executive role  are more strategic oriented and focus more on emotional intelligence than your technical skills. It is just a different experience all together than what you have experienced up to this point in your career.



  • Win their trust
  • Help them see you in the position



  • questions about your prior accomplishments which align with the position you are interviewing for and
  • responses to questions which demonstrate your leadership and mentoring styles.


Your goal is to impress, build intrigue and trust


Get them to invest their energy in you first

Early on in the interview,  ask the interviewers to define what their ideal candidate looks like, what they personally like best about the organization and as much information as you can about the company’s priorities.  Add to the responses with the research you have done, such as competitors for example.


The DREADED salary questions – answer in “ranges” such as:


  1. My total compensation has been between $100,000 and $260,000 the past three years
  2. My base has been $50,000 but my annual bonuses have ranged between another $50,000 and $200,000
  3. I am hoping to find a position paying at least 6 figures

Then ask them, “Can you provide me with the budgeted salary range for this position?”


Keep Cool.

Even if you feel defensive or frustrated, don’t show it.  Exercise your impulse control and other EQi skills.  Your calm demeaner will impress them, build trust and is an indicator of how you handle stress. Use these responses if feeling uncomfortable:

  • “That would not be a problem with me.”
  • “No worries; I can handle that.”
  • “I am confident I will be successful.”


Don’t wait until the end of the interview to ask questions.

If the interview lasts longer than scheduled, you may not have a chance to ask questions at the end so take the opportunity to ask a question after every 3rd or 4th question.


  1. “If you don’t mind, could you provide some information on …………….”
  2. ”On a related issue, could you tell me more about…….”
  3. “As a matter of fact, I was wondering if you could tell me more about……..”


Questions to  Win them Over

Assuming you have time to ask a few questions at the end of the interview, asking these impresses the hiring manager that you are engaged and interested in more than just the essentials of the job and salary information.  These questions separate you from other job candidates and leaves a favorable impression.

When I interviewed for emerging leaders as well as the C-Suite, my absolute favorite question to be asked was this:

  • “What does it take to be successful in this role and in this organization?”


Other great questions to ask:


  • “If I was hired, what are your expectations of me for the first 3 months?
  • “What would you say sets this organization apart from its competitors?”
  • “What have you liked best about working here?”
  • “What motivates the leadership team?”
  • “What is the next step of the selection process?”



That question is a hint that you have no further questions and lets them know you are excited and want the position.


Within the next day, follow up with an email to thank the interviewing team for their time and consideration, expressing your continued interest.

The after interview  follow up is an opportunity to remind them of you and the great discussion you had as well as a couple of additional points or relevant results you have achieved that demonstrate that your accomplishments are in alignment with their goals.

If you found this article helpful, check out over 75 other job-search success articles on or contact me and let’s discuss how I can help your career goals become a reality.

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