This is an article from Executive Interview Coaching, a certified Career Executive Coach, a member of the Career Money Life Supplier Community.
You’ve made it through a few rounds of executive interviews and it’s time for the “meet and greets”. So, how do these work exactly?
The meet and greets are when candidates meet with a wide range of people from an organisation in a series of short informal interviews. These employees help form a consensus as to whether you are the right person for a role.
“It’s a bit like speed dating,” says Executive Interview Coaching founder Richard Elstone. “You come in for half a day and you might catch up with the finance manager, the head of sales, the marketing manager, the head of accounts payable – the works.”
As you can imagine, meet and greet interviews can leave you feeling quite bamboozled. But with the right preparation, there’s no reason why you can’t nail them.
Here are some tips.
1. Do your research
Before the meet and greet, try to find out who you will be meeting and do some research about their role, how long they have been with the company and their achievements.
LinkedIn is the best place to start, says Richard. “The other great thing about LinkedIn is that if there are any mutual contacts, you can drop those into the conversation,” he says.
If you have any concerns about people knowing that you’ve looked at their profiles – don’t. It’s expected and can seem strange to prospective interviewers if you don’t do this, in fact appearing like you haven’t done your research. This just shows you are serious about landing the role.
2. Prepare your “Tell me About Yourself” pitch
The meet and greet is likely to begin with the age-old question: “so, tell me about yourself”.
Your pitch should be a summary about yourself that takes 3 – 5 minutes.
As a rule of thumb, a good pitch will:
- Include a short synopsis of who you are and what you do (not your entire professional history)
- Explain how you do it with specifics (highlighting any problems you have helped solve for other organisations)
- Identify challenges the organisation you’re interviewing for is facing and address how you can solve them.
The best way to perfect your pitch is to practice (preferably with the experts at Executive Interview Coaching) until it sounds natural, engaging and compelling.
3. Be curious
One of the best ways to make a good impression in the meet and greet is to be inquisitive about the other people you are meeting. Asking a lot of questions helps build rapport.
“It’s probably more about the questions you ask them than it is about the questions they’re going to ask you,” says Richard. “They might ask you to tell them about yourself, but generally these interviews are quite informal. That doesn’t mean that they are in any way less important than more formal interviews. The way to handle them is to be curious about the people you are meeting with.”
Richard says the key is to keep the conversation going. “You could ask them about changes they’ve seen since joining the company and what they like about working with the company or how the culture has changed since they’ve been working there,” says Richard.
“Be curious, listen to the answers and get the conversation going. Basically, treat it like you’re interviewing them as well.”
4. Customise your approach
Often companies will seek 360 degrees of feedback – they’ll get junior employees, peer-level people and senior managers involved in the interview process.
Make sure you tailor your approach in the meet and greet and ask questions that are specific to the person’s role and department.
“If you’re meeting with the finance person, you’ll probably need to talk about finance stuff; if it’s the marketing manager, the questions you pose will be different,” says Richard. “That’s why it’s so incredibly important to find out who you are meeting and do some background research.”
NEED A SOUNDING BOARD?
Getting the meet and greets right is just as important as having a polished resume or nailing the preliminary interview. In fact, it can be a deal-breaker.
Executive Interview Coaching offers a range of services to maximise your chances of being appointed to your next executive role.
Richard can provide expert advice about everything from your elevator pitch, to how to ask the right questions to make you stand out in the meet and greet.
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