I interviewed an earnest young woman this past week for a product manager position with my employer¹. We talked about her experience, and one thing puzzled me: she seemed to be telling me that she dealt exclusively with people at sea level.

As we're as likely to sell to people in Denver as people in Los Angeles, I was puzzled at first. Why would a company stratify its sales and marketing force based on altitude? Then, suddenly, the light dawned.

She was saying C-level: CEO, CTO, CFO, CIO, and various variant C*O positions. Senior executives. Sometimes called the "C-Suite".

It's a handy little term, but it's probably one you should only use once you've established that your audience understands it.

1. I do a lot of interviews outside my own group. I'm the Red Adair of interviewing.

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