A thorough understanding of interview processes is critical to being chosen as the successful candidate. Senior security risk management roles are increasingly critical hires for an organization and the market is still extremely competitive this year. Companies are even more focused on making the right hires.

From the hiring company’s perspective, each part of the interview process is designed to examine you as a candidate and learn if the organization will benefit from hiring you, thereby delivering them a return on their investment. It is equally important for you to assess your fit for the company and the role. The various levels of the interview process offer both parties opportunities to achieve their respective goals.

You can expect four distinct categories of interviews during your job search process:

1. Preliminary screening

Often done by telephone to decide if your background and experience is a match for the company’s vision of the role. This is a first impression of cultural personality fit, compensation level challenges and any geographic restrictions. The department and level of company representative who may conduct this first interview varies widely. For your part, plan to ask about the next steps, timing and the overall process used by the organization.

2. In-depth evaluation

Assesses your suitability for the role and offers the company a second view of your fit for their organization. This may be done by in person or by telephone or video dependent timing, geography, scheduling, and recruitment budget.

3. Deep dive

Generally, takes place onsite with the hiring manager and any other stakeholders. It may be panel style with more than one interviewer. It could also be five to six individual one-on-one meetings. his offers the company a collective view of whether you will be successful within their organization. Companies may ask you to prepare a formal presentation on a specific topic to a selected group of stakeholders.

You should also be prepared to ask questions that will convey your understanding of the organization and how the role can deliver value to their strategic goals.”

4. Final phase

Meetings with an expanded group of stakeholders and senior executive meetings, often incorporated prior to choice of a final candidate. These sessions vary from an informal chat with the CEO to substantive, strategic alignment discussions and personality connections with members of the leadership team. It is possible that the employer will combine all or part of these meetings on the same day with the third phase of deep dive meetings.

Throughout this interview process, you can expect to be asked questions that evaluate the soft skills we highlighted in our December column. These might include:

  • How did you get involved in…?
  • What role did you play when…?
  • How were you selected for…?
  • What steps did you take …?
  • Tell me more about…?
  • What did you do about…?
  • Just before that, what were you thinking?
  • What were your key interactions?
  • How did you respond to…?
  • How did you feel…?
  • What was the outcome?

You should also be prepared to ask questions that will convey your understanding of the organization and how the role can deliver value to their strategic goals. These inquiries should be about meaningful issues, ones that the answers to are substantively valuable to the process for both you and the interviewer.

Your advanced preparation and understanding together with the ability to navigate the process is critical for you to be successful in the interview part of the evaluation method. It is as important as your professional knowledge needed for the role.