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106 Executive Leadership Interview Questions

        posted by , January 13, 2013

Executive leaders are difficult to recruit.

Key positions such as CEO, CFO, COO, CIO and Managing Director of Sales can make or break your firm's results.

It's important to find a candidate who demonstrates strong executive soft skills such as competitive drive. New members of your executive team should be a good fit with your corporate culture.

It's also critical that the candidate be a highly effective leader and manager.

The following interview questions target business savvy, leadership and management capabilities at the executive level.


Executive Leadership

1. Why is corporate governance important?

2. In your current role have you established a set of organizational values? What are they? How do you motivate and influence to ensure that values take hold?

3. Why is it important for a firm to have a mission?

4. Can give me an example of vision you championed?

5. Can give me an example of a strategy you formulated? How did you execute the strategy?

6. Why do some firms struggle with innovation?

7. What is the secret to corporate innovation?

8. What metrics have you used to measure risk?

9. What strategies have you used in negotiations?

10. If I asked you to come up with a competitive strategy for our firm what steps would you take?

11. What are the goals of organizational design?

12. What strategies have you used to manage technology?

13. What is the secret to motivating a team?

14. Can you tell me about a time you championed a sustainability or corporate social responsibility initiative?

15. How do you manage resistance to change?

16. How do you foster a sense of urgency and ownership in your team?

17. Can you tell me about a time you transformed a business?

18. What metrics have you used to measure organizational performance?

19. What's your definition of a high performance culture?

20. If I asked you to come up with a quality strategy for our organization how would you do it?

21. What quality management challenges have you faced in your career?

22. Can you tell me about a project or program you sponsored recently? What were your accomplishments?


Technology

23. What are the goals of enterprise architecture?

24. How do you ensure that technology spending achieves a good ROI?

25. What technology management challenges have you faced? How did you overcome them?

26. Why are technology standards important?

27. How do you identify opportunities to drive technology innovation?


Finance

28. What techniques have you used to manage financial risk?

29. What factors do you consider when establishing a cost management strategy?

30. How do you govern the finances of a project or program?

31. How have financial audits changed since you started your career?

32. What's your approach to strategic tax planning?

33. Can you give me an example of a bad financial decision you made? What were your lessons learned?

34. What's your approach to managing risk versus return?

35. How do you perform a financial performance assessment of a department or team? Why is it important?

36. Can you tell me about a financial policy decision you made recently?

37. What's your approach to business forecasting? Do you use any formal methods?


Human Resources

38. How do you view the role of HR in a firm? What's the primary value of HR?

39. How do you hire the top talent in our industry? How do you retain them?

40. How do you recognize employee performance?

41. Have you ever resolved a dispute between employees? How did you do it?

42. What's a good reason to fire someone? What's a bad reason?

43. How do you ensure that employees receive regular feedback?

44. How do you feel about work force diversity targets?


Marketing

45. Can you tell me about a time you were involved in developing a new product? What challenges did you face?

46. How do you establish relationships with customers?

47. How important is social marketing? Why?

48. How do you build brand value?

49. How do you measure the value of a brand?

50. What are the components of a brand strategy?

51. What factors do you consider when creating a price strategy?

52. What's your approach to reputation management (for a firm)?

53. How do you measure the results of an advertising campaign?


Sales

54. If I asked you to come up with a sales strategy for our organization how would you do it?

55. If you could have a realtime sales dashboard with only 5 metrics on it, what metrics would you choose?

56. If I asked you to come up with a sales organization design for our firm what steps would you take?

57. How do you structure a sales organization to maximize revenue?

58. What steps have you taken in the past to retain large customers?

59. How do you ensure that sales representatives input critical data such as contacts into a sales system?

60. How do you identify sales talent? How do you retain them?

61. How do you manage the margin levels of deals?

62. Have you managed sales partners? How did you measure results?

63. How do you establish strategic sales partnerships?

64. What techniques have you applied to set sales targets, quotas and incentives? How do you measure the effectiveness of sales incentives?

65. How do you ensure that sales representatives reach their full potential?

66. How do you develop leaders within a sales organization?


Operations

67. If I asked you to create a global operations strategy for our firm how would you go about it?

68. Have you played a part in managing global operations? What were your accomplishments?

69. What are the goals of enterprise resource planning?

70. What techniques have you used to improve business processes?

71. Are you familiar with any ERP technology platforms?

72. How do you manage change in a highly optimized supply chain?


Industry Knowledge

73. How do you keep an eye on market trends?

74. What business trends are you keeping an eye on?

75. What technology changes will transform our industry in the next 5 years?

76. How do you measure the competitive advantage of a firm?


Business Law

77. What steps have you taken in the past to ensure compliance with employment law?

78. What strategies have you used to manage liability?

79. How do you prevent business disputes with customers and partners?


M&A

80. What's a good reason to acquire a company?

81. What are the biggest M&A mistakes that organizations make?


Decision Making

82. What's your style of decision making?

83. Do you make gut decisions or do you prefer data driven decisions?

84. What processes do you use to make important strategic decisions?

85. How do you ensure that an appropriate level of data is applied to important decisions?

86. What techniques have you used to model business decisions?


Soft Skills

87. What makes you a good leader?

88. How do you ensure both short term and long term corporate performance?

89. How do you modify your leadership style in a cross-cultural environment?

90. Can you give me an example of cross-cultural obstacles you've faced in your leadership? How did you overcome them?

91. What soft skills do you value most in your team?

92. What diplomatic techniques have you applied to negotiations?

93. Are you a good public speaker? What was your greatest public speaking accomplishment?

94. How do you ensure that your team remains results-focused?

95. How do you establish a culture of entrepreneurial spirit?

96. Why do some leaders struggle with delegation (what are the challenges)?

97. What strategies have you employed to influence without power?

98. How do you spot the innovative thinkers in your team?

99. What team accomplishment are you most proud of?

100. What is your personal competitive advantage?

101. Can you tell me about a time you mentored someone? What was the result?

102. Who is your business hero?

103. How do you balance work and life?

104. Would you say that charisma is important to leadership? Do you have charisma?

105. Can you give me an example of a time you overcame big political hurdles to achieve something?

106. How do you set priorities between short term and long term goals?

Find more leadership interview questions here.

This article is an installment in the ongoing series how to win your next job.


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