Guide to Interviewing Executive Level Candidates

Unique Tips to Ask Questions When Interviewing Senior Executive Candidates

Have you gotten to that stage in your company where you need to hire executives? Are you looking for guidelines on the best way to interview executive level candidates? If yes, then this is the right article for you.

Searching for the right people to fill in executive positions in your company is one process that is both tedious and time consuming. This is because hiring the best candidates to fill executive positions does not end with number of degrees, certifications or experiences he or she has, it involves getting the right individual that is capable of fulfilling the role of an executive in your company.

Interviewing executive level candidates might even be frustrating because most employers come across candidates who are better on paper than in practice. Interviewing executive candidates might also turn out to be difficult when you end up liking a candidate who has a charming personality but you know he/she is not quite right for the job.

Interviewing executive level candidates could turn out to be less tedious and easier if you follow some of these guidelines.

1. Question Yourself

One important guide to interviewing executive level candidates is asking yourself certain questions.

You might be wondering, am I not the one who is supposed to be asking the questions? Well, if you are interested in getting the right candidates, you need to ask yourself some questions before you start talking to executive level candidates.

Some of these questions include; 

• Can you clearly state the most important leadership your company requires from your executive level candidate?
• If the right person is added to your team, how can you correctly grade what success looks like?
• Who amongst your team of interviewers would serve as the culture evaluator during the interviewing process?
• What are the essential qualities you are looking for from your executive level candidate?
Questions like these guides you when preparing to interview executive level candidates.

2. Prepare Yourself

Another guideline to follow when you are interviewing executive level candidates is adequate preparation. Preparing for the interview is a process that goes both ways. The candidates prepare and even the interviewer should also be prepared.

One thing that should be at the back of your mind when interviewing executive level candidates is the fact that the interview you are about to conduct is not meant for entry level candidates, rather you are interviewing people who are at the top of their game, and have attained enough experience to become pillars or executives.

Therefore, being well prepared to handle the interview is important. Research on your facts, details and numbers so that when you ask them “any questions?” you would have the right answers to give them.

Be prepared also to give special treatment or handling, which could range from holding the interview in a safe (safe from probably their colleagues especially when they have not quit their present jobs) or comfortable location, to refusing to fill forms and would prefer to talk about their experiences verbally.

3. Ask only Questions worth Asking

Another guide to interviewing executive level candidates is asking the right questions. Since you have already established the essential qualities you are looking for in an executive, your questions should be directed in such a way that you can determine if the executive level candidate possesses such qualities or not.

The questions should not be direct or straight forward because they might have already-made answers for you. Hence it is better to twist the questions. For example, if you are interested in knowing their culture and values or leadership styles, instead of asking directly about their culture and values, ask them to tell you the leaders they admire and why?

This makes it difficult to give an already planned answer as they might not be sure of what exactly is your goal of asking such a question.

4. Look for Stories rather than just Ideas

When interviewing executive level candidates, it is important to tell them to back up most of their response to your questions with a story. This is because almost everyone can pretend or claim to be the right executive for the job but not everyone can back it up with facts.

Ask the executive level candidate to back up his or her response with an example or an experience. The details of such stories or experiences would give you more insight to who your candidate really is and how fit he or she is for the job.

5. Make each Encounter Personal

Taking a personalized approach to the interview is another guideline that should be followed when interviewing executive level candidates. Check out what they have been up to on social media, find out what articles, news or publications have been written about them as this helps you understand their personality and how to approach them during the interview.

Make the interview process more of a discussion session rather than a question and answer session. These would make the whole process easier, turn it into an exchange of ideas and thoughts, releases tension and helps you know your candidate better.

When choosing the right executive level candidate, it is important to be as careful as possible as one mistake could lead to hiring the wrong candidate which critical for your company.

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