A Top CEO Headhunter Shares His Tips for Interview Success

Sacha Strebe

If you’re reading this, then it’s likely you either have an interview lined up or you’ve just come out of an unsuccessful one and want to improve on the next. Thankfully interviewing is an art form, and like with so many other things, “you get better with practice and experience, just like acting or playing tennis.” This is according to The Career Playbook author and Spencer Stuart leader and executive James Citrin, who has spent an entire career perfecting the interview process.

Once a college-graduate interviewee alongside dozens of students at the coveted Irving Trust headquarters (aka “Number One Wall Street”), Citrin eventually became the interviewer, acting as an executive recruiter for the last 21 years. In this role, James has conducted over 10,000 executive interviews; helped place 600 top executives, including over 200 CEOs; and advised college students and MBAs. Now he’s written seven books on leadership and career success, sharing everything he knows about interviewing. So we think it’s pretty safe to say James knows a thing or two about the subject. Lucky for us, he shared a few of them in a recent LinkedIn post. Scroll down for a few of his insider tips. 

First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions

It’s time to ditch the “don’t judge a book by its cover” phrase, because when it comes to interviews, first impressions count—and last. Citrin says it’s crucial to establish an “immediate bridge” and “having a strong answer to the first question is essential.”

Try to Weave Your Answers Into a Narrative

We get that interviews are extremely nerve-racking, but you need to shake that off and tune into the interviewer’s questions. Don’t just answer them with a literal answer and end there. Citrin encourages you to “weave the answers into a narrative that tell a story about who you are and how you can be the solution to the hiring organization’s problems.”

Always Have Questions Ready for Your Interviewer

Even though you are the one being questioned, always be prepared at the end of the interview with a set of your own. It’s highly likely that your interviewer will end the session with “What questions do you have for me?” Citrin said this is one of the most important opportunities to show the interviewer that “you’ve done your homework, that you are strategic, and that you really care about the opportunity.”

For more interview insights, visit LinkedIn.com.

Pen your own questions before the next interview on our stylish notepad selection below.

What are your top tips for interview success? Share them with us in the comments.

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