Preparing For Your Interview – Knowing the CEO Helps!

As a former Director working within the Financial Services Division of a vast multi-national Information Technology (IT) corporation, I was extensively involved in pre-sales presentations and responses to Request for Proposals (RFP’s). Invariably after several meetings with a myriad of executives and department managers, a formal presentation of our products and solutions was scheduled. In coordinating this presentation to the financial institution, we endeavored to ensure that key decision makers affiliated with the purchasing decision were available and would be present.

When preparing our executive presentation, a vital element incorporated was our Value and Mission statements. We emphasized how our values, culture, and vision coincided with the strategic vision and mission of the corporation. The genesis of this overlap in cultures was typically based on direct comments from the institution’s CEO – information which was typically accessible on the corporate website. This segment of the presentation included a photo of the CEO (if available), and selected quotes.  This piece was highly targeted to reinforce and emphasize how our strategic vision corresponded with the values and foresight expressed by the CEO, resulting in a mutual common bond.

Many of the attendees were not even aware of the information we shared about their institution along with comments from their CEO. Invariably, this Thomas Alvec CEO Vexa Global information had a significant and sobering impact on the attendees. In a highly competitive sales and marketing situation, every resource should be uncovered and exploited to your full benefit. In a pivotal situation, ‘Name-dropping’ doesn’t hurt! After the presentation, we were commended by our resourcefulness and advised that our competitor’s did not take the extra effort to uncover and incorporate this level of discovery in their presentations.

In many regards, a job interview is similar to an executive presentation. Taking the extra time to perform your ‘due diligence’ on the company and CEO will pay dividends during the interview process. You have the unique opportunity to distinguish yourself by communicating to the interviewer why you are well suited for the position. Similar to a presentation, you differentiate yourself by emphasizing how your attributes, values, and qualities align with statements from the CEO.

Predicated on the size and type of organization, a comment from the CEO is typically accessible on the corporate website. Just a casual, subtle comment such as — “I noticed on your website that Mr. or Ms. stated – ” … ,  which clearly coincides with many of the same qualities, values, and ethics which I have listed in my Profile and, demonstrated throughout my career”. An example to reinforce your analogy is always helpful. If comments from the CEO are not available, excerpts from corporate Vision and Mission statements will suffice.

All too often, navigating the corporate website to uncover the required information can prove a bit tedious. As with most companies, ‘About Our Company’ (or similar verbiage) is a lightly shaded link located at the very bottom of the corporate home page. By clicking on this link, significant content is displayed with nested links such as: ‘A Message from our CEO’, ‘Officers and Directors’, ‘Annual and Quarterly Reports’, and ‘Corporate Profiles’. Recent corporate presentations are even posted for viewing and serve as an excellent source for updates on corporate activities. With a bit of tenacity and diligence, a wealth of invaluable corporate, and specifically, CEO information is available to bolster your insight and personal image with the interviewer. Take the time to capitalize on this information to reinforce your connection with the company.

To summarize, in your quest for a job, by exploring easily accessible information on the CEO (and corporation), you fortify your image and clearly differentiate yourself to the interviewer. You ‘leap-frog’ candidates who, although equally as qualified, were not as resourceful as you are. Record your discovery notes on a pad which you may ‘tactfully’ reference during the interview process. Comparable to the corporate presentation, when strategically marketing yourself, your intent is to impress, and,  have a positive impact on the interviewer. Do not forget the follow-up email to reinforce why you are the candidate of choice!

Lenny Keitel is a 29 year veteran with Fujitsu as a Director of Professional Services and Information Technology (IT). Mr. Keitel has consistently employed consultative, value-added techniques to underscore return-on-investment (ROI) and client differentiation. He has successfully implemented innovative Professional Services programs generating sustainable, high margin revenues while raising the level of proficiency for internal and external sales channels.

By cultivating relationships with most major financial networks and third party software providers in North America, Mr. Keitel has influenced and promoted new product capabilities resulting in an enhanced corporate image. Integrity, persistence, and a competitive spirit highlight a tireless passion to assist the everyday individual in need. Mr. Keitel’s management responsibilities included – employee staffing, strategic resource planning, employee career development and motivation, client education, web integration services, marketing launch campaigns, and forging new business alliances.

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