5 Common Executive Interview Questions and How You Can Prep for Success

Executive interview questions

Let the interrogation begin. You have shaken hands with your interviewers and sat down at the board room table with these strangers; now it’s time to provide calm, authentic, and thoughtful responses to intrusive questions about the most stressful moments of your career. No big deal, all you need to do is build strong, trusting relationships with your interviewers and convince them that you are the answer to all their problems.

Luckily, you know your executive career marketing documents inside out and upside down, and you can elaborate on them. You’ve researched the company through and through. Arguably the most challenging part of the interview to prepare for is your responses to the questions because you never know what exactly your executive interviewers are going to ask.

The trick to preparing your responses is knowing what details your interviewers are trying to get. Executive interviews are less focused on the day-to-day technical details and more interested in bigger-picture, long-term themes. Ultimately, questions can be boiled down into 5 specific c-suite skill themes:

  • Communication
  • Self-Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Leadership
  • Change Management

Below are 5 common questions to practice categorizing into the themes listed above. Many questions target more than 1 theme, and the more you can capture in your responses, the better.

Common Executive Interview Questions

  1. “Tell me about a time you increased cross-functional communication and collaboration across your organization?” Leadership, change management, and communication
  2. “When have you effectively implemented a large-scale change in your organization? What did you do that led to success?” Change management, leadership, and empathy
  3. “Tell me about one of the hardest decisions you’ve ever had to make.” Self-awareness
  4. “How have you evaluated an employee’s job performance in the past? What do you do to encourage underperformers and reward top performers?” Leadership, empathy, and communication
  5. “Tell me about the biggest failure of your career. Why was it a failure, what was the situation, and how did you respond?” Leadership, self-awareness

To find out how we can help you prepare for your next executive interview, book a complimentary and confidential call with us here.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.