Winning The Third Interview with the VP |

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Most advice given about third interviews, particularly with a VP, miss the most important element of what you need to accomplish. Here, I deal with the basic and with what others neglect.

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Third interviews. Competition between you and one other person . . . at least that's what you're being told. So, how do you get ready for the third interview? What's the psychology that you use in order to win the third interview with the VP?
So, my assumption is when they're talking about, "You're going to meet with the VP," you know, there's a, this is the senior individual to whom your boss reports. The idea here is not so much intimidation, because there's no need to be intimidated . . . They're just a woman or a man who has a job title and something to do. Since you're being hired out of their budget, they're confirming that . . . remember, they will hear about you in one of three circumstances. Number one, you're doing great work and someone's calling up to praise you. Number two is that you're doing bad work and they've got a headache on their hands. And number three is its review time and they critique you. So, one of these is awful, one of these is good. They're hoping that, minimally, it's neutral, which is the third one.
So, you they have a responsibility for you and they want to confirm that you are someone that they don't have to worry about, and they may genuinely like having you around. So, there are two things I always encourage people to do to get ready for a third interview.
Number one, review in your mind the answers that you've given in the interviews proceeding this too different types of predictable questions. Now, you'll get asked many of the same things by this person and it's useful to review the stories that you told and rehearse them in advance so they sound engaging and interesting.
Remember, when you tell a story, if you're a senior individual, use an acronym, SOAR. Situation-objective-action-result. If you're a staff level individual, someone relatively junior-- STAR. Situation or Task, Action-Result. Whichever one it is, review the stories in a way that you can tell them about in about a minute's time.
"You know, I stepped into a situation where I was involved with something where there was a problem with such and such. So, what my assignment was, was to, this is the objective. What I did was . . . With the result being . . . " and you're using metrics in terms of what the outcome was-- money saved money earned, percentage improvement, something along those lines. Aso review your stories, so you can tell them well, and in an entertaining/engaging way.
But this is the most important part. What often differentiates you and the other person is how you connect with the VP, how you connect with your boss's boss, so they know they can trust you. Do they like you personally and, as such, if you come in as "the serious individual" exclusively, without trying to connect with as person to person, you run the risk of only being evaluated based upon objective criteria.
Here's where that's a problem. The other person has met the objective criteria up until this point, too. So, why should they choose you or the other person? The answer comes down to who you are, how you'll fit in in their mind, how you'll relate to the team, and whether they can trust you. Fundamentally, this is about how you connect with people, and how you connect with senior individuals.
More than anything, ignoring that one is a huge risk for you. I know most videos and articles and stories that are written about this ignores the personal. It's not about who has the biggest smile on their face so, if they look like the village idiot. It's about real connection between people that allows you to win the opportunity.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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4 Responses
  1. Sergio Murillo

    How should you prepare for the third interview with the VP when he was also part of the second? My second interview was a virtual peer panel interview and consisted of him and three other individuals. Now this third one, from my understanding, will be a face to face with just him.

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