Do you think about the executive interview questions YOU will ask the employer?
When you’re preparing for interviews, one of the first things you do is think about the questions that the Board of Directors is likely to ask you. However, an interview should never be a one-way street, so you need to be ready to ask them questions about what they have to offer to you.
People become CEOs and executive-level managers for many reasons, including an opportunity to:
- Challenge themselves and turn companies around,
- Become a mentor for talented individuals, and, of course,
- A chance to win big.
Most C-suite executives are competitive by nature. But without the proper team and conditions, they won’t reach success regardless of how eager they are to beat competitors.
So, read on for some executive interview questions that you need to ask during your next interview. They’ll help you determine whether or not the company provides you with reasonable opportunities.
4 Essential Executive Interview Questions to Ask the Employer
Question #1: Would you tell me about the team?
As someone with executive-level experience, you know very well that people are the most important organizational asset. It’s the people who are going to execute your plans and determine the fate of the company. This applies to all companies, from small startups to big corporations. You absolutely need to know about the people that you might lead.
If you find out that the company has limited or insufficient talent to develop further, then you should decide whether you’re ready for the challenge of building the right team. If there’s a chance that you will have to be in the recruiting loop as well, keep in mind that finding the right talent is one of the biggest challenges that recruiters face.
So, by asking this question, you’ll have an idea about the state of human resources in the company. This will help you understand what kinds of challenges await you. Be sure to ask more specific questions, too. For example, let’s say you’re being interviewed for a C-suite or high-level executive role in a B2B startup. Ask them about the size of the R&D team and the level of expertise of the engineers.
Question #2: What defines the culture of your company?
There are many company-related things that you should research before going to an executive interview. For example, you can read about the company’s culture on their website. And you can check employer reviews at sites like Glassdoor. But asking about it in more detail is something you should do regardless of how much information you find out there.
The answer to this question will give you a better idea of the company’s culture and whether you’re the right fit for it. The more detailed it is, the better.
It’s a known fact that company culture is heavily influenced by the beliefs, personalities, and values of the core team. Therefore, the answer will also help you to understand how the team propagates their organizational values. Moreover, the culture has a direct impact on the behavior of the employees and their perceptions of the management team.
If the information you’ve found about the culture is consistent with the answers given by the Board of Directors, then you’ll have a good understanding of whether you’ll have a solid team that has the potential to adjust to changes and give the company the best chance for succeeding.
Question #3: What are the biggest challenges faced by the company?
Inconsistent performance, failures, or low return on investment – these may be the reasons why you’re being interviewed by the Board of Directors for an executive position. Chances are high that the Board has some specific concerns about the company as well as the role you’re being interviewed for, and you should know about these concerns from the very beginning.
The concerns that Board members will share with you are likely to be related to development strategy, business goals, and revenue targets. The Board’s expectations are clearly important for you to know because they can help to shape your vision of the company’s development.
According to a recent EY report, the following are the top concerns that Boards of Directors expressed for 2019 (along with the questions to consider for the executive interview):
Embrace the duality of strategy
- How is the Board helping to shape the agile strategy to drive innovation and development?
- In what ways did the Board ensure that the bias of management and other decision-makers doesn’t impede development?
- How is the company preparing for emerging competitors?
Change the governance of risk management
- What data is used to assess emerging risks to the company’s success?
- Does the company have a periodic evaluation of the company’s culture to ensure that the vision is shared by everyone?
- Is the composition of the management Board appropriate to provide an effective analysis of risks?
Improve talent agenda and use culture as a strategic asset
- Is the Board regularly reviewing the state of the culture of the organization?
- Does the Board have a good understanding of the company’s culture as well as mechanisms to support it?
- What culture and talent metrics are reviewed by the Board and how regularly?
Improve communication and stakeholder engagement
- What is the state of communication among all stakeholders?
- Has the Board prioritized the improvement of stakeholder engagement?
Question #4: What does success look like for your organization?
The Board of Directors or other stakeholders interviewing you should have a clear vision of success, so ask them to describe it in detail. For example, they can respond by saying that they expect a number of certain performance metrics to improve within a specific time period. Also, they can share how your performance will be measured and how often.
Not only will this help give you an idea of success for that company, it will also tell you how the Board of Directors will measure your performance. Feel free to give them your own time frame, too. For example, ask what success looks like in two years, with you in the role.
It’s important to be on the same page from the very beginning when it comes to performance evaluation, so asking this question is certainly worth it.
Use These Executive Interview Questions to Prepare Better for Your Next Chance
An executive interview is the ultimate example of “two-way street” communication. Everyone involved in the meeting will have something to ask you, and you should also have a list of questions prepared for the interviewers. Hopefully, these questions will make their way into your list for future interviews, too, as they can help you to get a good idea about the opportunities and risks that a position might have for you.
More About Executive Job Interviews
About the Guest Author
Daniela McVicker is a career coach and an editor at TopWritersReview. She’s also a business communication coach, helping future job applicants to write business emails to help them achieve success on their career paths.