An interview with the CEO or founder generally corresponds to the last round, which finalizes your application and which will make you integrate (or not) the company. If you have come this far, it is because the team has validated your level of technical skills and sincerely thinks that you could do the job. You are, therefore, part of the final selection of candidates.
The hardest part seems already done. However, we should not fail at this last interview. So how does it differ from other stages of the process? And how do you convince everyone on this last lap?
In preparation for an interview, the best way to make it is to know as much as possible. A visit to the LinkedIn profile of the CEO of the company is a good idea, from a strategic point of view. Informing yourself in advance about his training, the different employers he had before starting his business will allow you to project yourself more concretely in the interview, and to anticipate your discussions better. Does he have an engineering, financial, or more commercial profile?
Expertise and experience often say a lot about the profile. Knowing a little about your job will give you key elements to anticipate any questions he may ask you: technical, strategic, business-oriented or other job-related questions. You might even, who knows, find common ground!
Do not hesitate to survey by typing its name on the search engines, and you can find valuable information there: interviews, prices, participation in conferences, etc. It is not, of course, going spy on Facebook or Instagram – you’re not a stalker! – but instead to collect as many elements as possible to better prepare you for the meeting!
The presentation to the CEO may differ slightly from other job presentations in an interview. Indeed the latter must emphasize two elements: your motivation and your ability to provide practical solutions to the problems that arise in the open position. What interests the founder the most is what pushes you to join the project – his project – which is a bit his baby. Your presentation must, therefore, answer the question, “why this job?” or “why this company?”
Beyond your skills and motivation, show that you have a business vision. Should have a reasoned and mature reflection on the job, the industry, and its evolution. It is an excellent way to show that you know how to step back and be open-minded while having a critical eye that can bring to the business. Indeed, it is unlikely that the CEO only seeks to recruit clones and excellent performers. He will probably be interested in someone who brings a vision, new ideas, good practices from outside, and all this in good understanding with the needs of the position.
During an interview with the founder, it is not necessarily the candidate who speaks the most! Make sure you look at the CEO. He carries the vision of the company and will be in the best position to deliver you valuable lessons. It can also be an opportunity to convey your ambitions for its teams, as well as its management vision, which are crucial elements to integrate before you decide to join the company.
So do not hesitate to bounce back on these words and ask questions to deepen! Listening – especially if it is active listening – can only be positive. In essence, you show that you can adapt your attitude to your interlocutor, but also that you can hear it, understand it and identify its expectations, thus creating the beginnings of a relationship of trust, which could work in your favor!
If it is no longer to prove that asking the right questions in an interview is a strategy that pays off because recruiters appreciate it, this is all the more true when you meet the CEO. You are in the presence of the person piloting the business project, it is time for you to learn as much as possible, and to show by the relevance of your questions that you understand the issues.
You can question him or bounce on his words during the interview, but also keep a few questions for the end, especially if he comes to ask you, “Do you have any questions? Most of these questions bare generally linked to the position you are targeting: success factor, challenges for the company, long-term vision, etc. You can also probe him about the company, both on the entrepreneurial adventure. Also, on the problems that arise today because of the market. Privilege, of course, the open questions, which will allow your interlocutor more freedom and will enable him to develop his answer.
If an interview with the CEO of the company can be impressive, it is not always the most technically tricky interview. On the other hand, it is an interview that mobilizes a lot of energy and preparation so that the meeting leads to a real common desire to work together. Good luck!