What to Look for in a Chief Executive Officer

After researching when to hire a CEO, it’s time to consider what to look for in a CEO. But how do you know which qualities make a chief executive officer successful?

As a purpose based executive search firm, Y Scouts looks for chief executive officers who share a company’s reason for working. However, there are many other personal attributes that can contribute to a candidate’s success in the workplace. If you’re unsure about what to look for in a CEO, here are five qualities you can consider.

1. Cultural Fit
Cultural fit is one of the most important attributes to look for in a chief executive officer. A CEO who fits in with your company will have an easier time adjusting to the position, and will have an easier time forming relationships with your current employees. Since your CEO represents the company, it’s important to hire someone who shares your company’s values.

2. Industry Understanding
If a candidate has a thorough understanding of your company’s industry, he or she will already have a good idea of what your company is doing. If the candidate also knows how the industry is evolving, he or she should have a general idea of what your company needs to do in order to stay on top of the changes. All of this knowledge is extremely important to look for in a CEO, because it shows that the candidate is capable of steering your company in the right direction.

3. Communication Skills
A chief executive officer with excellent communication skills can talk to investors, employees, and the public about who the company is, what they are doing, and why these things are important. As a representative of your company, it is important that the CEO can speak with confidence, which is why communication skills are essential to the job.

4. Adaptability
As technology develops, industries change. No matter what your company does, there will be always new developments in your field, and these developments may change the course of the industry. A CEO needs to be able to adapt to these changes quickly and effectively in order to keep your company current.

5. Goal-oriented
When deciding what to look for in a CEO, consider how a candidate will affect your company in the future. Using their knowledge of the industry, a CEO should be able to get a general idea of what path your company needs to follow in order to succeed. However, it is important to find a chief executive officer who not only knows where the company needs to know, but how it is going to get there. With a CEO who knows how to execute ideas in order to achieve a set goal, your company can stay at the top of its field for years to come.

You might be interested in these other posts about hiring a CEO:
When to Hire a CEO
How to Hire a CEO
15 Remarkable CEO Interview Questions
What to Pay a CEO

How did you decide what to look for in a CEO? Let us know in the comments.


Y Scouts is a purpose-based, performance-proven leadership search and development firm focused on transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. When you’re ready to hire a new leader, Contact Y Scouts. If you are looking for your next leadership role within a purpose-driven, performance-focused organization, please join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

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How to Find a CEO
What to Look For in a CEO

“Wow! You guys hit a home run. Really like the candidates from Y Scouts.” – Adam Goodman, President of Goodmans Interior Structures

“If you need a passionate leader, the approach Y Scouts takes will attract the right talent.” – Kevin Fallon McCarthy, McCarthy Law

“The approach Y Scouts took provided us with unique candidates that fit with our culture.” – Matt Altman, Co-Founder & Principal of Sportiqe Apparel