Going into an interview for a executive role can always be a bit unnerving… what will they ask me? have I done enough prep? will nerves get the better of me? can I really do this? so with all these thoughts in your head the last thing you want is to get hit with a complete googlie! (That’s a cricket term for my transatlantic friends – means one out the blue).

One of my coachees was asked ‘What’s your view on the Syrian Refugee Crisis?’ Neither of us had anticipated that one. In broad terms it had nothing to do with being a CEO of a UK non profit. But in another sense it had everything to do with the role. I can’t tell why the interviewer asked that but if I had to guess I’d say:

  • to test the candidates ability to think on the spot
  • to test the candidate’s ability to deal with the unexpected
  • to see if the candidate was alive to the issues of the day – had an external focus
  • to see whether they had the courage of their convictions and were prepared to offend, sildenafil be controversial or just flannel
  • to see what their values were

All of those things are entirely legitimate things to test.

But how should you handle such an unexpected question?

  • have an opinion! but make it a balanced opinion and have some facts to support it (if you can) consider the issue from a number of standpoints. You can spend your time simply talking about how complex a problem it is
  • be articulate, click just pause before you leap into an answer – its OK to say ‘that’s a toughie’, or ‘there is no easy answer to this’, use that time to think  about your response. Our world is full of complex issues that can’t be dealt with in a slick phrase
  • be values driven and true to yourself, if they want to hire you it should be because you share the same values not because you have blagged your way by saying what you think they want to hear
  • be confident, when you are put on the spot it is all too easy to fall apart, plough on and sound like you know what you are talking about. There’s no right or wrong.. just what you think. So know what it is that you think.


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