Executive Level Interview Questions

joseph cole

Updated on February 28, 2023

What to ask executive candidates?

When interviewing candidates for executive roles, look for the following qualities:

  • Goal-oriented approach – Executives have to take responsibility for their team’s performance. Ask questions to find professionals with a track record of success. That could include, implementing profitable promotional campaigns, launching products successfully and continuously meeting sales targets.
  • Leadership ability – Employees in executive roles have to manage and motivate their team members skillfully. Find candidates who have strong problem-solving skills, can make tough choices confidently and lead by example.
  • Strategic vision – Executives play a vital role in decision-making process of the organization and are accountable for driving growth. Ask questions to find out if candidates understand your company goals and can help in company growth.

Interview questions for executives

  • Share an experience when you took a quick decision on an important issue.
  • Tell me about a mistake you made at work. What happened and what did you learn from it?
  • Tell me one of your suggestions that improved the company in some way.
  • How often do you hold meetings with your company’s management team and your team leaders? What preparation do you make before these meetings?
  • How do you keep your team motivated?
  • Tell me about a successful project you managed from start to end. What type of challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
  • What would you do if your manager keeps rejecting your ideas?
  • What is the most important piece of advice that you would like to give to your team?
  • Do you know what is 360-degree performance review? How do you react to constructive criticism?
  • How do you approach Underperforming candidates ?
  • Describe your leadership style. Tell one incident you had to change your style due to some unavoidable reasons.

How to assess executive candidates’ answers?

  • Look for candidates who combine deep industry knowledge with soft skills like decision-making, communication and team management.
  • Look for candidates having wide experience of varying backgrounds.
  • When interviewing candidates for executive role, look for a professional who will fit your team’s values but will suggest new ideas.
  • Ask them to share examples from their previous experiences to understand how they approach challenging situations.
  • Look for candidates with career goals that align with your company objectives.

Red Flags

  • Dishonesty: If you feel that a candidate is trying to hide or change the truth, reconsider moving them forward to the next round of interview. Executives lead by example and need to be ethical, trustworthy and professional.
  • Arrogance: Executives are decision makers, but ideal executives are not arrogant. Instead, they take responsibility for their mistakes, are open-minded and fair.
  • Poor presentation skills: Executives are likely to interact with customers, attend events and manage internal teams. If they lack confidence and look unprofessional or reserved, they might not be a great fit for the role.
  • Lack of preparation: Candidates should know about your company, like your services/products, competitors etc. and must be able to tell how they can contribute to your goals. But, if they know nothing about your company, it is a red flag.
  • Signs of discomfort or stress: Give hypothetical scenarios to candidates to check how they face challenges. If they look stressed or can’t reply, they are likely to take a step down when real problems occur at work.
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