As you’ve spent your career climbing up the career ladder, you’ve found yourself applying for executive jobs. Firstly, a big well done for getting this far and achieving this level. Secondly, we know just how absolutely nerve-wracking the entire process is. Sitting in an executive interview can be one of the trickiest things to master. How can you show just how great you would be in a particular role, without coming across as too rash?
Even executive roles have tones of applicants, which ultimately means you’ll be competing against other highly experienced, skilled individuals. You have to set yourself out from the crowd. One way that you can do this is by asking great questions.
Why asking questions is important
You might not think that asking questions is a crucial part of a job interview, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Asking questions proves just how curious you are about a role, after all the effort that you put in searching for the perfect job. Asking questions is also your chance to showcase all the research you did about a specific role. In executive roles, many of the common questions are answered throughout the interview – leaving you with no prepared questions.
During an interview
We also highly recommend that you don’t wait to ask questions until the end. If you prepare thoroughly in advance, you might find the perfect time to ask questions throughout the interview. Making your questions spontaneous will only show just how interested in the role you are and also proves that you’re listening to every word that the interviewee is saying – which is surprisingly rare. Obviously, preparation is vital. Alongside questions, you should also prepare topics that you should talk about, and great phrases to say throughout. Let’s dive into the top questions that you should ask your potential employee in an executive interview.
1. What is the history of the position?
Not to be confused with “what is the history of the company?”, as this can be discovered with just a quick google. You should ask about the history of your specific role and how your predecessor shaped the role.
This is highly important for you and your future, as your entire environment will be affected by this. Don’t get too personal, but try to find out why the role is now available – did the previous worker get fired, promoted, or quit?
2. What would you like to see accomplished?
Many job descriptions talk about the routine tasks, and expected responsibilities – but what do they genuinely want to achieve from you?
As an executive position, you need to discover precisely what their goals are and how you can help them reach them. If you do get offered the job, this will ensure that you settle into the position seamlessly.
Also, once finding out this information, you can demonstrate that you’re fit for the position throughout the interview. This can only really be achieved once you know their specific goals.
3. How is my success measured?
Even in executive positions, you’ll continuously be measured and monitored – you need to find out just how they do this.
To the employer, this highlights just how invested you are in the company, and how adamant you are that you’ll be successful.
With all the questions listed, they can also create a really great discussion. It’s always great to build some kind of relationship with the person who is interviewing, as it allows them to picture you slotting into the company.
4. What is the company’s approach to failure?
This might seem like a counter-productive question, but in reality, it’s a great one to ask. Everybody knows that things go wrong, failures happen, and how a company reacts to them makes a big difference to the team. A winning approach to dealing with failure is by seeking to understand, sharing stories, and trying again. Don’t be afraid to share any kind of ideas, like this, in the interview – it will show the employee how perfect you are for a role.
5. What are some expected challenges?
As an executive, you’ll be very much aware of just how challenging the role is. That being said, every company is different – and each one has a set of individual challenges. Ask your employer, in hindsight, what are some of the challenges of this specific role? From this, you can then offer your ideas of how you can support and assist. Not only does this help you prepare appropriately for the role, but it gives you a chance to show off your talents. It’s a win-win situation and a great question to ask. Obviously, be confident when you ask. Don’t make it seem like you’re scared of any challenges that come your way.
6. What tools and resources do you have?
Every company uses different tools and resources, and this question is a great one to ask. If all goes well, this will give you a chance to boast about your experience with a specific tool or resource. If you have no experience, you can prepare a follow-up discussion afterward.
For example, perhaps the team uses Slack as a messaging tool, which helps them all to stay connected. You could express how ingenious and reliable this specific platform is. When applying for a position in the marketing department, you can ask if they use the assistance of academic writing companies to make sure content is fact-checked and proofread before the launch of certain marketing activities.
Ask what computer software they use. Again, it just shows curiosity in the company and the role.
7. What is the company culture like?
This question shows your curiosity in the company and how the employees interact with one another. It’s just a thoughtful question that showcases just how invested and interested you are.
Follow up questions can include where people eat lunch if there’s any company socials or events that people look forward to.
As an executive, you could also ask how you can impact company culture – perhaps changing it for the better. When a team gets along, they usually work better.
8. What is the company’s philosophy on customers or clients?
Every company has either customers or clients, in some way or another. As an executive, this will be a big part of your role.
Asking this question is always extremely impressive, as it shows how you’re thinking about the future of the company, and also how you can integrate into it.
Basically, how is the customer/client treated on a day-to-day basis, and how does this affect the product or service.
On a personal note, this will also let you decide if this is the role for you. Sometimes, the interview serves as the perfect way to determine if you want to work from them.
9. Do you have any concerns about me?
First and foremost, this shows that you’re not afraid of constructive/critical feedback. Not only that, but you welcome it with open arms. Make no mistake; interviewees often discover many downfalls with candidates. This can be something on your resume or even something that you said in your interview. It’s obviously favorable that you know about this before the interview ends.
What this question does is gives the interviewee the pass to say what they think and not hold anything back. It also gives you the chance to fight your corner and clear any ambiguity.
10. Do you follow a specific methodology?
If you couldn’t find this out from your research, it could be worth asking. Business methodologies include, but are not limited to:
- Waterfall (the most common)
The best-case scenario is that you have experience with a specific methodology. If you don’t, you could start a discussion about it, and how you would fit right into it.
Chances are, if they follow anything other than waterfall, they will mention it in the job listing. You should prepare questions accordingly.
We hope these unique and useful interview questions guide you well in your job search.
Asking (and avoiding) some of these will make sure you ace every interview and secure a fantastic role at your dream company.
Remember, your answers, conversations, and questions should all exude your personality. This company wants to be able to picture you working for them, and not a well-trained robot.