10 Executive Interview Questions You Need to Ask

Executive candidates can make or break companies, helping them drive growth and development. Companies looking to hire an executive leadership role want to ensure that candidates have the necessary skills, personality, and fit to streamline business operations.

These high-level employees help companies reach long-term business goals and will often implement process improvement plans to increase productivity. But how can you find a top-tier executive? After they’re sourced, the interview is where you really get to know them. Outside of general strategic interview questions, there are a handful of executive interview questions that can help you find out the information you need to know.

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Executive Interview Questions to Help You Find the Right Candidate

The interview process is the perfect time to learn more about candidates. You can learn about their education, experience, qualifications, and how they function within a business. Candidate for executive roles will naturally have a lengthier interview process than other roles. They’ll be overseeing entire arms of your organization! While you can still use panel interviews and try to accelerate the interview process (no one wants a really long hiring process), you’ll want to use the interview stage to truly vet all side of the candidate.

We’ve sourced hundreds of executives for other companies. Here are some questions we’ve used to help find the right executives for other companies—whether they’re for internal employee or external candidates.

1. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a leader?

Asking candidates about their strengths and weaknesses helps you determine where they think they excel and where they can improve their skills. For executives, it’s vital to know what they think about their own strengths and weaknesses regarding leadership.

Leadership is a soft skill that’s a top priority for an executive. In this role, they’re out of the day-to-day execution. They need to know how to lead. But no leader is ever perfect, and it’s important to acknowledge that! This will help you see how they evaluate themselves and what they’re working on.

2. What metrics do you utilize to evaluate employee performance?

Executive interview questions regarding metrics and performance evaluations help you determine what candidates value in their employees. That includes their communication styles, productivity, and ability to work well with others.

3. What is your process for making important business decisions?

Executives are responsible for high-priority decisions. How they make these decisions is critical to understanding how they’ll conduct business with your company. Candidates who emphasize strategic planning, research, and outside opinions in their decision-making process could be best for your company.

4. How would you describe your management style?

Asking about management style allows you to learn more about how your candidates how they manage and motivate their people.

You can see how a candidate thinks about:

  • General leadership
  • Motivating and encouraging their employees to develop professionally
  • Leading projects
  • Seeking guidance and mentorship

5. How do you approach employees about poor work performance?

Productivity is critical to the success of a company. Asking how executives approach employees about poor work performance helps determine what initiatives they take to drive productivity, including how they motivate, nurture, and work with other employees. You can see when they initiate a one-on-one with someone, how they explain their reasons for meeting, and if they help the employee identify any actionable items they need to take.

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6. How would your former coworkers and supervisors describe you?

For companies to succeed, their employees must work well with their coworkers, supervisors, and upper management. It’s critical to know whether or not candidates developed a rapport with their previous team members and if they can do the same with your company. Rarely are we asked to think about how other people think about us. While a candidate won’t ever offer up a negative answer, their response can be revealing.

7. Can you describe a time when you effectively implemented production changes or process improvement?

To drive growth and development, executives must be capable of implementing production changes and process improvements to increase revenue. That’s ultimately why they’re interviewing to oversee an entire organization. Asking candidates to describe instances where they effectively implemented such strategies is critical.

8. What do you think is an executive’s role in the company?

This is an extremely open-ended interview question for an executive, but it will help you see if the candidate’s priorities for the role match up with the kind of person—and leader—you want running this part of the organization.

9. How would you improve company and workplace culture?

Your company culture might be great! And many teams may report that they love working there. But naturally over time, people get bogged down, retention could rise, or other cultural maladies could affect the organization. Look to see if the candidate’s answer lines up with your organization’s general philosophy on culture.

10. What do you think makes you a good fit for this executive-level position?

Even though this may feel like a generic interview question, it can be insightful into how candidates perceive themselves. It helps you determine if candidates know their unique skills and understand the position’s responsibilities—and if they match up with what you’re looking for in a candidate.

Acquiring the Right Executive

Asking the right executive interview questions that assess personality, experience, and leadership is critical to hiring the right executives for your company. Utilizing interest-driven questions and letting candidates respond openly provides insights to help you choose someone who can effectively fulfill the position’s responsibilities.

No matter your industry, Insight Global can help. Fill out the form below to learn more about how we can help you acquire the right executive for your company.

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