Interview questions to Hire Your Next Executive

Having the right team is critical to business success, making interviewing a high-stakes task for any manager. Asking the right questions can give you a window into what working with that person could look like, helping you decide if the candidate would be a good fit for you, your team and overall company culture.

After decades of hiring, I’ve come up with a nearly foolproof list of questions that I ask every potential candidate. I’m sharing my top interview questions for manager:

  • Walk me through your resume – what are the highlights, what are the challenges?
  • Why did you leave each job? be specific…examples – what didn’t you like about it?
  • What culture do you work best in?
    • Have you joined a company that has a culture different from that, how did you adapt? How did you change to move it in the right direction?
  • How do you define your leadership style? Give a description of the type of employees that work best for you? What’s your ideal employee or team?
  • What’s your ideal manager? Under what type of manager do you work best?
  • How do you approach coming into a new role?
  • What expectations do you set for yourself for the first 90 days on the job? What would you hope to accomplish?
  • Do you have people you’d want to bring in? You’re taking over a team – how do you assess the existing team? Do you go in with expectations of “here’s exactly what I want” and try to figure out how to fit them in? Or do you assess the talent and figure out how to mold your expectations? Or do you expect normally to bring in new people?
  • What department do you typically find the most challenging to work with—and why?
  • Who is the strongest personality you’ve worked with/for in your career? Describe that person and how you worked with/for them?
  • Ask me 3 questions as if you were hiring your boss. About me and my leadership style, not the company.
  • Give me an example of someone who has worked for you that you were concerned about (performance plan), and you turned them around. How did you approach the situation with them?
    • Also, give me an example of a situation where it didn’t work out and you let them go.
    • What’s your favorite interview question?

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