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How to ace an executive-level job interview

Tips and techniques for answering common interview questions, making a good first impression during the interview and for following up.

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You've been contacted by an executive recruiter about an opportunity to interview for a position at a successful company. The job the executive recruiter describes sounds perfect for you. You want the position so badly, you dream about it at night. To make your dream a reality, you need to ace the interview.

That's easier said than done. Job interviews are one of those occasions when you just have to be perfect. You need to spin a good story out of your work experience, but your story can't be too detailed or carry on too long. You need to appear relaxed, but you can't come off as too relaxed. You need to practice your responses to typical interview questions, but in the interview, your responses can't seem rehearsed. It's like Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Everything has to be just right. And it's tricky.

Obviously, you've got to learn as much about the company and the people interviewing you as you can. The more you know about the hiring manager, the more comfortable you'll be talking with him or her. Similarly, the more you know about the company, the easier it will be for you to present yourself as the answer to the company's prayers.

This story walks you through the interview process, from preparation to follow-up. You'll get tips on how to make a strong first impression and answer interview questions, and you'll learn the verbal and nonverbal communications you should employ—and avoid—so that you can ace the interview.

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