Interview with the CEO means connecting. 4 questions to ask

Interview with the CEO means connecting. 4 questions to ask

At some point in your career, you may have the opportunity to interview with the CEO of the organization where you are applying for a new job. In most cases, the CEO is interviewing you because you are candidate for a position that is one of their direct reports on the executive team. If the role doesn’t directly report to the CEO, then it has enough strategic value to the organization, such that the CEO is interviewing you to give the hiring manager their stamp of approval (or not).

Don’t focus so much on impressing the CEO as you focus on connecting with them — people hire people they like and want to work with. If you’re interviewing with the CEO, you’ve likely already passed a screening of your professional experience and technical abilities. Be confident, yet humble, and stay curious throughout the conversation.

As with any interview, it’s important to ask questions to not only show your interest, but also demonstrate your curiosity. Recognize that the CEO is quite busy, so you may not have a lot of time with them. It will be important to prioritize your questions and have them ready to go when the tables turn and you have a chance to pose some questions of your own.

Keep in mind that some of the best questions will arise organically from the conversation in being naturally curious. “Say more about that…” or “tell me more about that…” are always good ways to get someone to dive deeper and provide more detail so that you can probe into their responses with more questions.

You want your questions to be intelligent (versus something that can be easily answered online), thought-provoking for the CEO, and elicit enough information for you to assess if it’s a place where you’d want to work — and a team or boss with whom you’d want to work.

Time permitting, ask the following four questions in your interview with a CEO:

Question 1: What culture does the organization need to succeed in the coming years and what are you doing to build that?

Culture is how things get done in the organization, and it comes from the top. The CEO sets the tone for what behaviors are encouraged, rewarded, or tolerated. In fact the “and what are you doing to build that?” part of the question may be a wake-up call for the CEO as it squarely asserts their responsibility for this, which not all CEOs are fully conscious of or attuned to.

It’s also important to assess how the organization’s cultural values are reflected in everyday behaviors — or are they just lip service? How are these values woven into the fabric of organization’s policies, processes, and practices? And how consistent are they with your own personal values?

Asking a question like this when you interview with the CEO also shows that you are potentially part of the solution.  MORE

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

    Be the first to be a part of the career journey reimagined.

    I am