Conducting run-of-the-mill candidate interviews may be all too familiar to you — whether you’re a hiring manager or part of the search team. However, interviewing C-suite executives can be daunting, so keep reading to learn about six of the best questions you can ask during a C-level interview. The top C-suite interview questions uncover more than just resume bullets.
Top C-Suite Interview Questions
What is one thing you would change about our company if you could today?
You’re interviewing someone for a large and demanding leadership role entailing 100% competency and responsibility. This question helps assess leadership skills, as well as creativity and diligence. Furthermore, it gives you an idea of how thoroughly the candidate has researched your company to feel out the things that are working and the things that could use some improvement. Executives are hired to make big decisions and think on their feet, so this is a great litmus test. While you don’t need the candidate to provide a fully thought-out strategy, this question will assess the candidate’s thought process, attitude, and priorities.
How do you manage conflict?
In general, you may want to ask them about their management and leadership style. But asking them about the way they manage conflict gives you insight on how much of a team player they are, revealing the strength of their interpersonal skills. You want to see how well the candidate can listen to the opinions and inputs of others, negotiate, persuade, and build consensus among many employees.
How do you understand our company culture?
Again, you’re looking to see how well the interviewee has researched your company. How well does the candidate understand your values and mission? In general, the concept of culture fit is increasingly becoming a top priority in the recruitment process for professionals today. For those holding seniority at your company, the more important it is to find a cultural fit, as these characteristics will affect their leadership style. Gauge how the candidate perceives your work environment, culture and even your dress code to determine how well they would procure a C-suite position.
What are your salary requirements?
This can be a bit of an awkward question. But negotiating salaries with those at the top of the food chain, potentially expecting high compensation, will be important. A good candidate will provide a range, and perhaps talk about a salary earned in the same position at a previous company. A poorly equipped candidate may simply demand numbers or argue with you upon negotiation.
How do members of the C-suite work together and collaborate?
This is a great question for any high-level candidate, regardless of the specific position. Great executive candidates have successfully networked, left positions without burning bridges, and made good and not-so-good connections along the way. You want to assess their ability to work as a team, collaborating among different levels of expertise and leadership styles. An excellent candidate will discuss his/her ability to be a team player. How does the candidate encourage passionate cooperation among the leading members of a company, regardless of when conflict or clash occurs? Dig deep on this one.
How do you promote togetherness between the C-level executives and other members of the company?
This question is related to the previous three, assessing how well they fit into your company culture. Even though the C-level execs maintain much responsibility, their ability to encourage togetherness and interact with all company members (no matter the level) says a lot about how they value their employees and their contributions. A strong candidate will reiterate the belief that all their employees have a unique contribution to the company. Seek out an attitude of gratitude in your candidates.
Good luck interviewing and hiring a C-level executive. Hopefully, these C-suite interview questions help you to determine the best of the best.
What do you think about these C-suite interview questions? Have any others to add? Let us know!
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