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How to Project Executive Presence During an Interview

Don't take chances with how you come across during an interview. Leverage Executive Presence to your advantage.

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You are on cloud nine.

Your spirit is soaring because you’ve put in your time and honed your skills, and now you are about to get your big shot. You’ve got an interview for a position that will elevate your career to the next level. The payoff for all your hard work and sacrifice is so close you can almost taste it.

The Challenge

There’s one problem. This “next level” position is at the “next level.” In other words, you haven’t been there before – at least not in an official capacity. Add to that you are likely to be competing against other candidates who have performed at that level or if the competition is really steep, above that level.

How do you give yourself a fighting chance? What can you do? Lie? Exaggerate? Pinkie promise to deliver? Of course, all of those are non-starters.

“Thanks for taking my anxiety to the next level. What can I do to improve my chances of winning the position and elevating my career?”

First, a brief detour. I love that you are applying at all. Most people, including myself at points, just don’t. Also, it’s great that you recognize the challenge for what it is, rather than what you hope it would be. This realistic optimism will serve you well.

Now, back to your question. What your potential future employer is looking for, and what will give you an edge is Executive Presence. Allow me to put a finer point on that. There is a job to be done and all other things being equal, they will hire the person who they have the most confidence in to get the job done. Once you understand this is where the contest will take place, you can prepare accordingly.

The Shift

If you haven’t already, ask yourself the following questions. Then, during the interview, highlight how you are the type of person the answers reveal. Doing this will give you the best chance at being selected.

What sort of person will thrive in this position?

How does a person in this position typically present themselves, in terms of appearance, attitude, and aptitude?

How does a person who has this position interact with others, including an interviewer? What questions would they ask?

When you arrive at the interview, your primary goal should be for the interviewer to believe they are meeting the sort of person who would thrive in the position. You do this not by having the best answers, but by projecting the Executive Presence of a person who is already capable of doing a great job.

Remember, your Executive Presence sets the ceiling of your success.


This article was adapted from the new leadership book, Unlock Your Executive Presence: Feel like a Boss. To find out more about Executive Presence and access free leadership videos, podcasts, and guides, go to www.connectioncounselor.com.

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