Common Interview Questions for Executive Level Jobs

Interviewing an executive candidate
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When you are interviewing for an executive level job, some of the most important factors the company will consider are your leadership style and how it will fit in with company culture, how you would implement change, and how you manage employees.

At this career level, you will be in a leadership position, responsible for setting and meeting lofty goals and making sure that the people you manage are in a position to support these goals as well. People in C-level positions are expected to make important decisions and deliver results, so come prepared with examples of how you have done so in previous positions. 

Before an Interview for an Executive Level Position 

As with any interview, advance preparation gives you a huge advantage. Plan your interview outfit the day before. Make sure to wear something that is appropriate.

You don't want to look like you're playing dress-up during the interview; you should comfortably inhabit your clothes. 

Planning your outfit ahead will help you avoid unpleasant day-of realizations, like that you have a stain on your favorite interview shirt, can't walk confidently in your shoes, or have an itchy tag on a new interview outfit. Thoroughly research the company. That way, if you are asked about specific company-related strategies or to share feedback, you can provide a thoughtful response.

As well, you should feel comfortable answering commonplace interview questions. Think: How would you describe yourself? What's your biggest weakness? or Where do you see yourself in five years? Review the questions below, which you can expect during an executive level interview, as well as these top 10 interview questions. This will help you speak confidently and coherently during the interview.

During the Interview

 Avoid rambling or disjointed answers. If you are unsure what you want to say, pause for a second to frame your thoughts. Try using stalling phrases such as "That's a really thought-provoking question" to buy yourself a bit of time to formulate your thoughts.

As well, remember that the interview is a two-way street: Not only should you ask questions yourself, but if the interview does not touch on something you believe is relevant to the position, you can bring it up yourself. 

Executive Interview Questions

  • Here are a number of questions you might be asked during an interview for an executive level position.
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • Why are you interested in our company? 
  • What do you think makes you a good fit for this position? Thinking about this specific role, what aspects do you think would be the biggest challenge for you? 
  • What is the most difficult thing about being an executive or manager?
  • What are the methods you typically use to evaluate an employee's job performance?
  • Tell me about a time in which you brought productive change to a company. How did you implement this change?
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with difficult or unmotivated staff. 
  • Describe your experience reading and interpreting accounting and financial reports.
  • If you were hired, what would be your priorities in your first three to six months on the job? 
  • What are two things you believe our company is doing well? What's one thing that you think we should change? 
  • What do you look for in an employee? What behaviors and performances do you expect of an ideal employee?
  • Tell me how you have created a shared purpose among people who initially differed in opinions or objectives.
  • Give us an example of a method you have used to successfully encourage/motivate your staff.
  • How would you handle an unforeseen obstacle or a situation that resulted through a third-party, that affects your bottom-line? 
  • What's your communication style? 
  • Describe a time when you confronted an employee whose results were inadequate.
  • What did you do to increase company revenues at your current company?