Use executive interview questions to find awesome candidates for upper management and C-level positions.

How to create awesome executive candidate interview questions

Your ideal executive candidate is probably an influential strategy wizard. 

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Here are some more things to look out for:  

  • Strategic-thinkers: As executives are responsible for driving growth, they should be awesome decision-makers.
  • Influential leaders: These candidates need to manage and motivate like a pro. Look for people who make tough decisions confidently, have strong problem-solving skills and lead by example.
  • Goal oriented: Executives are responsible for team results, so their goals need to closely align with the company’s. 

Executive interview questions

  • How would you describe your leadership style? What would you do if you had to shift that style for a tough deadline?
  • How would you ace your feedback to an underperforming employee?
  • Do you know about 360-degree performance reviews? How would you react to negative feedback from a team member?
  • What’s your #1 piece of advice for a successful team?
  • What would you do if a department manager consistently overruled your ideas?
  • Describe a successful project you managed end-to-end and how you overcame challenges.
  • How would you inspire an unmotivated team?
  • What’s the ultimate number of meetings for team leaders and the executive management team? How do you prepare for them?
  • Tell me about a time your idea improved the company in some way. How did you implement it?
  • Describe a time you had to move fast on an urgent decision. How did you communicate your decision with your team?
  • Everyone makes mistakes. Tell us about one you made at work and what you learnt. 

Candidates to look for

  • Value matches: Your candidate could be with your company for a long time. Look for people with career goals that match your company’s.
  • They dig into experience: The right exec will have a ton of experience, so expect to hear about it. Bonus points if they talk openly about difficult situations. 
  • Great culture fit: The ideal candidate will fit in with your company culture but won’t be afraid to pitch new ideas.
  • They have it all: Look for candidates who combine industry know-how with soft skills like team management, communication and decision-making.
  • Bonus tip: Diversity is key for a thriving workplace. Keep an eye out for executive-level candidates from varying backgrounds and aim to eliminate bias from your hiring process.

Candidates to avoid

  • Stressed or uncomfortable candidates: Interviews are hard. But, if candidates are so stressed they can’t find an answer, that just proves they don’t handle difficult situations well.
  • Unprepared candidates: If your candidate didn’t prepare for their interview, they’re probably not that interested.
  • They lack presentation skills: You’re after a candidate who can represent your company to people from all levels. If they lack confidence, are reserved or unprofessional, a C-level role probably isn’t for them.
  • Arrogance: Arrogant candidates are a big no-no. Great leaders are under constant self-improvement but arrogance = resistance to new ideas.  
  • Dishonesty: If you can tell a candidate is lying or you spot inaccuracies in their answers, they’re not the pro you’re looking for.

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