Cowen Partners, a national executive search firm, has assembled a list of CEO Interview questions for your convenience. Best utilized by founders, board members, and human resource leaders.
What would your long-term Strategic Vision be for our company?
How would you help our employees connect to that vision?
How have you overcome the barriers you’ve encountered in the past to attaining company goals?
What are the most important strategic priorities for our company over the next three years?
Describe how you’ve responded to competitive threats in the past.
Describe how you’ve guided the creation of new business models, products, or strategic initiatives in the past?
How did your vision for the company evolve based on this new business approach?
How did you gain buy-in from key constituents and stakeholders as the organization evolved?
How would you lead the organization in setting goals?
Describe how would you lead the organization in prioritizing the goals?
Describe how you would assess the competition?
What method would you use to create strategies to compete with our competitors?
How would you build trust, generate buy-in, and develop a plan during your first 90 days?
What strategies would you use to increase our market share?
How would you develop our core competencies?
Describe how you’ve driven a business to accelerate growth, expand EBITDA, and profitability in the past?
Describe how you’ve grown a business through a joint venture, merger, or acquisition.
Describe a time you created or launched a new product or service that resulted in a new revenue stream?
What is your leadership philosophy?
How do you embody your leadership philosophy?
How would you describe your leadership style?
Describe the type of environments in which your leadership style is most effective.
How would you build your executive team into a high performing team?
What methods have you used to motivate your staff in the past?
How would you foster teamwork within the entire organization?
How have you connected with people at every level of the organization?
What would your past Executive Leadership Team say is your biggest flaw?
If we were able to ask them, what would your staff say are your strengths as a leader?
What areas are you currently working for leadership growth?
What steps did you take to develop yourself as a CEO?
How do you seek constructive feedback?
How do you make sure employees are being honest with you in giving you feedback?
Describe a time that you acted on the constructive feedback you received from the Board, your team, and your customers in the past.
Describe how you would manage budgets and the P&L.
How would you lead your team to prioritize organizational investments?
How would you handle departments that go over budget?
Describe how you’ve used cost-benefit analysis to decide on a costly course of action.
Which accounting and financial reports do you find most useful and why?
How did you reduce costs in your last position?
How have you navigated tough decisions regarding budget cuts or restructuring in the past?
What kind of metrics would you require each department to establish?
How would you hold your leaders accountable for achieving their metrics?
How would you have your direct reports present their KPIs?
Describe a method you have used to increase efficiency and enhance shareholder return. What was the outcome?
How will you identify the problems in the organization?
Tell us about a time in which your team successfully implemented a large-scale process change.
How did they measure the success of the change?
How did you hold them accountable for the success of the improvement?
What tools and techniques would you use to approach problem-solving with your Executive team?
Tell us about some of the process improvement projects you’ve initiated that your organization has had success with.
Give some examples of how you have gotten the stakeholders and front-line staff to support process changes.
How did you involve your team in designing and implementing these changes?
How do you hold your leaders accountable to develop their leadership skills?
How would you measure the performance of your direct reports?
What would you do to attract top talent?
How do you make sure you have the right people in the right jobs?
When hiring, how do you make sure a leader is a good fit for the company culture?
How do you create the right mix of personalities for your executive team?
What constitutes a good mix of personalities?
Tell us about some of your failures.
How did you recover from your failures?
Describe how you have resolved a conflict between leaders on your executive team.
How have you increased employee retention in the past?
Describe how you’ve selected and implemented technology improvements in the past?
How would you foster greater innovation?
What innovations have you fostered at your current company?
How have you changed a company culture to facilitate innovation?
What serves as a guiding principle in your life?
What aspects of this role would be the biggest challenge for you?
Describe what skills and traits have made you successful.
In what ways do you align with our company culture?
Describe how you’ve handled investor relations in the past.
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