A job interview for an executive position contains many specific questions that are related to leadership and management. There are also more generic questions that employers may ask you to know if you're capable of performing your primary duties effectively. By taking the time to prepare your answers to these questions, you can show the interviewer that you're an ideal candidate for a senior management position. In this article, we present you with 25 executive interview questions and answers you can review and study.
General interview questions for executives
Below is a list of general questions you may encounter during an interview for an executive position:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What do you know about our company?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What are your salary expectations?
- Do you have any questions?
20 executive interview questions and answers
Here are executive-level interview questions and example answers for you to review ahead of your senior management interview:
1. What are your strongest qualities?
An interviewer can ask this question to know how you may perform in leadership positions.
Example: "My strongest qualities are communication, conflict resolution, team organisation and empathy because I always work to find solutions and create a positive environment."
2. How would you describe our company?
This question aims to determine if you have researched the company before the interview.
Example: "I can describe your company as one of the most innovative organisations in the Information Technology sector that cares about bringing the latest cloud-computing solutions to their clients."
3. Why do you want to be a leader in our company?
An interviewer asks this question to understand if your core values align with the company.
Example: "I admire the company's commitment to digitise all kinds of businesses and want to contribute to the economy's modernisation. I think I can contribute as a team leader in this area."
4. What is your management style?
Here, hiring managers want to know more about your plan on managing employees and how you see yourself as a leader inside the company.
Example: "I would describe my management style as transformational since I focus on employee motivation and I set clear goals for every team."
Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles
5. What traits of your last supervisor did you value?
An interviewer asks this question to determine the traits you admired from past supervisors, what you learned and how you apply them as an executive manager.
Example: "My most recent supervisor always practised active listening with employees, and they created a bidirectional feedback system to understand their needs in a better way. I aim to uphold these traits."
6. Can you give me an example of a time you motivated your staff?
Hiring managers want to know if you have the proper skills and approaches to motivate your staff.
Example: "When I was responsible for an advertisement campaign, I created an incentive program that improved the team's daily sales number by 30%."
7. What do you want to accomplish in your first months as a leader?
An interviewer can ask this question to see if your plans and vision align with the company's while also obtaining information about what you know about its procedures.
Example: "The first thing I want to do is implement a functional communication channel to help connect departments and branch locations. I also want to establish an electronic file system to reduce paper waste and limit the amount of time spent searching for paper copies. Then, I want to turn my focus towards customer relations to review the current customer service procedures, gathering input from employees and customers alike before implementing an updated system to increase customer satisfaction."
8. What is your strategy for increasing company revenue?
Your answer can help an interviewer determine whether you have the skills and experience to generate company revenue.
Example: "I would increase company revenue by strengthening our visibility in the international markets, using digital forms of media as our primary tool. We should also encourage a partnership with translation and localisation companies and outsource our customer service department."
9. What do you think our company is succeeding at, and what do you think it needs to change?
A hiring manager can ask this question to see what you know about the company's most successful operations and how you can contribute to a positive change in the necessary areas.
Example: "I believe that this company is successful in terms of marketing and customer service. However, I do think we can strengthen the company even more by digitising accountancy and invoicing departments even more."
10. How would you reward your employees for their excellent performance?
An interviewer asks this question to know how you would reward your employees since it's an integral part of their productivity.
Example: "I would acknowledge an employee's individual performance and accomplishments in front of their peers. For groups, I would offer additional economic incentives and early leaves if they complete their objectives.
11. What metrics do you consider the most important when evaluating performance?
This question aims to understand what traits you value the most in your employees and how you evaluate their performance.
Example: *"**I usually focus on performance metrics such as revenue per employee, management by objectives and overtime per employee".*
12. What is your most challenging duty as a leader?
The interviewer wants to know how you overcome challenges of leadership and related experiences in this matter.
Example: "The most challenging aspect for me as a leader is to combine departments that haven't had much communication before. Also, it's difficult to terminate employees. However, the company needs to do it, and I try to do it with empathy and with any help I can offer."
13. Can you tell me about the most challenging experience you encountered as a leader?
This question asks you to describe a specific incident that challenged you as a leader.
Example: "Upper management told me they were considering merging another branch, meaning I would oversee double the employees and department size. There was also the process of employee onboarding and helping existing employees adjust to a new situation. I dealt with this by keeping an open line of communication throughout the process, listening to new and existing employee concerns and coordinating weekly meetings with department heads. The results included a successful onboarding process and integration of new staff who are now fully adjusted to their new work environment."
14. What areas do you believe you could improve in?
Recruiters ask this question to learn more about your leadership qualities and also shows your honesty.
Example: "I know I can improve in active listening, which is why I completed a course on communication and management a few months ago. I find I am more aware of my non-verbal cues and how they can affect other people. I can apply an autocratic leadership style if needed, but I want to listen to every party involved in a business process."
15. How would you sell an idea to your team?
Persuasion skills are an integral part of leadership. Your interviewer wants to see how you would approach a situation where these skills are needed.
Example: "I would take the time to research the potential benefits of the idea before putting together a presentation to help convince them of its importance. I have to be convinced about it before I can convince others."
16. How would you increase communication across departments?
Your answer to this question helps an interviewer learn more about how you handle specific incidents that contribute to company productivity.
Example: "I would start by sending out a survey to gain perspective from department heads and employees company-wide. Then, using those suggestions, I would meet with the other IT department to create a company-tailored communication channel that could connect departments, company locations and remote workers."
17. What would you do to help improve workplace culture?
An interviewer uses this question to learn more about your leadership strategies.
Example: "I would meet with the HR department to implement a new employee onboarding procedure and also create a training program for existing employees."
18. How would you ensure a successful employee onboarding process?
An interviewer can ask this question to know how you would help new employees adjust to the company's duties.
Example: "I would work with the recruitment team and HR department to create new onboarding programs that take into consideration every new employee's background and speciality. I would also include meetings and classes to talk about the company's values and goals, so they can understand why their efforts will be so significant for its success."
19. How would you approach an employee about poor work performance?
This question aims to know how you would improve an employee's performance.
Example: "I would meet with them one-on-one and practise active listening to know what their issues might be. I would then introduce them to a performance improvement plan with their suggestions in mind."
20. What is the most satisfying thing about being in a leadership role?
Your interviewer wants to understand what you enjoy about working in a senior management role.
Example: "The most satisfying aspect of working in a leadership role is feeling like you are making a difference, whether it's company revenue, customer or employee satisfaction or all three of those factors."