Man in a suit shaking hands over a table with a woman

Essential Questions to Ask While Hiring C-Level Executives

In Leadership Resources by Brandt A. HandleyLeave a Comment

C-level executives are execs that sit at the highest positions of an organization–CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and COOs. These are the people that make all the important decisions that determine the path and trajectory of a business. While larger organizations may hire their C-level executives by exchanging from other similar organizations, the mighty middle market has a much larger pool of talent to choose from, which can be both a blessing and a curse. A good recruiter will know precisely which questions to ask while hiring the newest leadership for your company.

Since decisions made by these executives shape the company’s future and present operations, it is imperative to hire the right person for your organization. The way to do this is by asking the right questions during the hiring process.

First and foremost, you can employ a competent recruitment firm—like ROI–to help you find top talent in your field. Besides having a database of candidates, recruiters also have tools to source new candidates from unconventional places, ensuring a wide selection of candidates for the position are included.

The difference between hiring executives versus your general employee is that this executive holds a lot of power in their position. They will be essential in the decision-making processes of the organization, and thus the questions posed to them during the hiring process should be phrased as such.

Questions asked during the executive hiring process should be based around company culture, conflict handling, change, and innovation. Once a person has reached a level of professional experience that would qualify them for the position of a C-level executive, the regular interview questions that you would put in front of lower-level employees become redundant.

Ask questions like:

  • What is the biggest change in an organization that you have ever dealt with? How did you adapt?
  • Tell us about a quality that you really admire in a previous supervisor or mentor.
  • What is the toughest decision you have had to make from an executive position?
  • How do you deal with recurring problems? Do you have a grasp on why these problems keep showing up?
  • What makes you an effective executive?
  • In our organization, what would be the first change you would bring about? Why?

The questions should all reflect the way your new hire will handle their position at your company. Add in more questions that are specific to your company culture to get the best representation of the person you could potentially call your new CEO. Good recruiters will also have their own cache of questions to determine details beyond qualifications to determine if a candidate’s leadership style fits the company culture or has the potential to be successful if the company’s culture needs modification.

It can be a daunting process, and one that feels very loaded given the level of responsibility in the C-suite. If your middle-market organization is looking to hire an executive, ease the process by hiring the best in the business. We will filter out the best candidates in our database  and source more, and will vet the top talent as potential hires. This way, you can ask questions that only concern your organization, the talent’s commitment, and the general management style, and an experienced recruiter will have the knowledge and tools to discern the best fit.

Leave a Comment