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It is time to advance your career and claim a position in the C-suite team. This might be your first time — or not — but in any case, getting ready for any upcoming interview is crucial at any job level. In this blog post, together, we will explore the most typical interview questions for the C-suite, including some tips to make the most out of this interview. We will help you better understand the skills needed for an executive role and what companies are looking for. Are you ready to get the job?
What are companies looking for in an executive?
There is not only one answer to this question since each company has its own needs. However, there are some specific traits and skills that make a leader desirable. Most interview questions are designed to identify these traits and skills in a candidate. Therefore, your first goal is to have a clear overview of your strengths and weaknesses. Here are most of the wanted skills and traits:
- Comprehensive thinking
- Culture fit
- Up/Down/Cross Management
- Stress Management
- Relationship Building
Typical interview questions for C-suite
On to the next step. In the following lines, you will find typical interview questions for C-level executives split into five categories. In each category, there is a brief description and some tips on how to answer.
Personality interview questions
These questions focus on your character and are typically introductory. The tip here is to be honest, direct, and humble. Here are some questions you will come across:
- Why are you the best to lead this team?
- What is your greatest strength as a leader?
- What are your weaknesses, and how do you plan to overcome them?
- What do you do to relax outside of working hours?
- How have you improved your listening skills?
- What is your management/leadership style?
- How do you explain the success you have had in your career?
- What is the most important lesson you have ever learned as a manager?
- How do you define success?
Competency interview questions
Competency interview questions explore situations of your past. They are a great indicator of your experience, personality, and mentality of improvement. Some questions are easy to answer, but some are harder as they focus on your failures. The goal here is to stick to the question asked, skip any extra irrelevant info, and add a key takeaway. Examples:
- What was the biggest change you’ve experienced/led?
- Describe a time when your boss or a board member criticized you. How did you feel, and how did you handle it?
- What is that one mistake you made in your professional life that you wish you could go back and fix?
- What is the toughest decision you ever had to make?
- Describe a situation where you were part of a project that failed. What went wrong? How did you react? What lessons did you learn?
- Describe the best and worst bosses you have ever worked with. What did you love and hate in their leadership style?
- Could you provide an example of a time you had to motivate your team?
- Have you ever fired an employee? Why? How did you communicate it?
Behavioral interview questions
Behavioral interview questions examine hypothetical scenarios that explore skills and are typically in the form of “what or how would you”. These questions, in your case, will be around the skills we mentioned above. The key to answering such questions is to identify the skill that underlies and use it in your response. Questions:
- How would you convince your team about your vision?
- How would you handle a conflict with your boss or a board member?
- What would you do in case you made a mistake?
- What would you do in case one of your direct reports made a mistake?
- How would you evaluate employees?
- How would you approach an employee about poor work performance?
- How would you reward your employees for adequate work?
- What would you do to help improve workplace culture?
- How would you ensure a successful employee onboarding process?
- How would you motivate your team?
Company-based interview questions
Of course, company-based questions are the highlight and most significant part of the interview. This is the part you should focus your preparation on the most. Our tip here is to make hiring managers visualize a successful future with you. Focus on your future together and what your plans are for the company. Questions you will face are:
- Where do you see room for improvement in our company?
- What would you like to accomplish within the first six months of employment?
- What is your strategy for increasing company revenue?
- Where would you start your changes?
- Where do you see the company in the next five years?
- What are your reservations about this position and organization?
- Why do you think you will be effective in this role?
Questions for you to ask
Even though we explored questions that hiring managers will address, we could not skip the part of you making questions. Now the roles reverse, and you have the time to find out if the company is the best fit for you. As a tip, we would say to craft some personal questions based on your needs and expectations from the company. Here are some to get inspired:
- What is the company’s unique selling point?
- In what areas does the company excel?
- What is the employees’ retention rate?
- What is the organization’s biggest challenge in the coming year?
- How is the organization viewed by executives, clinicians, employees, and consumers?
- What would you change in the company?
- How do members of the C-suite work together and collaborate?
- How does the C-suite relate to the board?
- Do you see this as an organization where I could perform well and be happy?
- What is your vision for the company?
Getting ready for an interview becomes more challenging and time-consuming as the job level gets higher. Even though we deliver to-the-point and snackable content, speaking with an expert is the key to making the most out of your interview. In any case, we wish you good luck, and we would love to know about your interview and thoughts on our content. So, feel free to reach out.