Best Guide On Questions To Ask CEOs In 2021

Interestingly, according to Forbes, about 33% of hiring managers or CEOs claim that they know whether someone is the right person to hire within the first 90 seconds of the interview. However, candidates’ performance during the following roughly 40-minute interview can sway their decision. Therefore, as job-seekers, you need to prepare well beforehand how to answer their inquiries. Besides, knowing good questions to ask the CEOs can help you strike an impression on them and increase your chance of getting the job offer. 

The Need To Prepare Meaningful Questions

In 2013, the median age for an incoming CEO at Fortune 500 companies was 53, and the average time they took over the CEOs’ positions was 9.7 years. These CEOs have extensive experience, so an interview with them can be intimidating for the job applicants. Thus, it is advisable to prepare appropriately for an interview with the CEOs.

The Need To Prepare Meaningful Questions
An interview with the CEO can be intimidating. Image: business insider

Typically, as job candidates, you can pose questions based on the discussion so far with CEOs. Instead of asking irrelevant questions, you can ask admissible questions to obtain further information about the organization and clear any possible doubts about the job positions. Since how you make questions will also show the interviewers your interpersonal skill, rehearsing the most common questions to ask CEOs will greatly help. 

Rehearse The Most Common Questions

Before looking for good questions to ask CEOs in the interview, prepare your answers to their questions. Besides, there are other elements you should plan for the interview in addition to the questions.

Bear In Mind The Basics

An interview with the organization’s CEO is typically the last round of interviews, deciding if you can get the go-ahead from the top-tier supervisor. Indeed, meeting the CEO can be nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. It can be the first meeting to kick off excellent cooperation if the interview goes well. But it could also be your very last visit to the organization as an applicant.

Hence, always prepare carefully for the tiny details. For attire, something smart casual or semi-formal, would make you look neatly presentable but comfortable enough to stay relaxed throughout the interview. One good tip is to search for images and background information of the CEO you are meeting to decide what kind of attire to wear. For example, if you find on social media or news the CEO wears formal attires in most of the pictures, you can be expected to follow the same styles in the interview. 

Throughout the interview with the CEOs, it is worth bearing in mind a couple of their professional milestones and their personality. This will help you to come up with creative and in-depth questions to ask them at the end of the interview. 

Bear In Mind The Basics
Professionally presenting yourself is to show your respect. Image: bigstock

Job Interviews Questions And Answers Sample

There are usually very straightforward questions interviewers use regardless of industry or job levels. Let’s see below some job interview questions and answer samples.

Why Do You Want This Job?

This question is your chance to show the interviewer how much you know about the organization and the position. Hence, you should thoroughly research the organization’s services or products, its culture, and missions. From there, you will convince the interviewers that you possess the appropriate skills for the position. And remember to mention the aspects of the company and the role you are interested in.

Why Should We Hire You?

Your response to this question needs to be concise and focused. You can explain what you have to offer for the company and why you deserve the job. To answer every necessary detail about your qualifications and soft skills, you can draft your answer beforehand. Also, a good piece of information to add is what you want to achieve while working here and how you’d devote yourself to achieving them.

What Are Your Salary Expectations?

Questions about salary are always tricky. There is a possibility that you sell yourself too short or too high for the job offer. Do some initial research about the salary range for the position with similar skills, experience, and location as yours. Thus, you can get a clear scope to expect and answer this knotty question.

What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

Here’s another typical question that interviewers may ask you. The art of answering this question is to be honest but avoid mentioning essential skills. For instance, saying something such as “I pay too much attention to detail” is not a wise answer for someone applying for detail work. It seems that you fall back on a scripted answer and turn out to be not honest. Remember that honesty is the best policy. Just mention one of your weaknesses and how you are trying to overcome it.

How Do You Handle Stress And Pressure?

The interviewer asks what you do when things do not smoothly go as planned. They want to see your problem-solving skills or how you deal with sudden issues in the workplace, especially in a limited time. A good answer is to share an example of how you successfully dealt with a stressful situation in a previous job. In other words, you can acknowledge workplace stress and elaborate on how you address it to deliver your tasks efficiently.

How Do You Handle Stress And Pressure?
Be specific in how you deal with stress. Image: hearstapps

The Ultimate Question Of “Tell Me About Yourself”

Almost every interview starts with the interviewer asking the applicants this question as it lays a foundation for all upcoming questions. However, some applicants may encounter difficulties answering this question confidently. Hence, take a look at the sample answers when you confront the “Tell me about yourself?” question.

Planning Your Answer

“Tell me about yourself?” the question is simple, but it requires good planning for a relevant answer. You are not only telling the interviewer about yourself but also why you are suitable for the job. To do so, you should consider these main points:

  • What qualities of yours fit the position well?
  • What about the role that interests you?
  • Why are you interested in this particular company or industry?
  • Is there anything unique about the background that distinguishes you from other applicants?

To make your answer clear, you should organize it according to timelines. For example, you can start by mentioning your skills, then explain how you obtained these skills in previous jobs. Or you can do the opposite and list your past positions first and then what you have learned from them. Either way, you should finish with one element, either experience or skills, before moving to the other.

Sample Answers To “Tell Me About Yourself”

How about some samples tell me about yourself interview answers to make you more confident with the interviews? Below are sample answers for positions as an interior designer, a marketing manager, and a financial analyst.

An Interior Designer

“I’ve been passionate about arts and design since my childhood. When I was in high school, my parents trusted me with the interior design plans to remodel our house. I enjoyed every minute working on the project and I knew then that interior design must be my career. Hence, I studied Interior Design at College of Art and Design for 3 years and graduated 5 years ago.”

“Since I was still in college, I started working part-time at a local interior design firm. This experience helps me build my portfolio in designing for both residential and commercial spaces. Working at this firm also allowed me to be exposed to cutting-edge technologies to deliver much higher-quality designs. The position also helped me create a network with local suppliers and many of them give me invaluable insights.”

“Moving forward, I’d love to work at a design firm such as yours. I want to specialize more in designing for residential spaces where each customer’s needs are unique. I believe my experience, network and most importantly passion to serve will allow me to be a great asset to the team.”

A Marketing Manager

“Currently, I’m working at XYZ Company as a marketing executive. I’ve been in this position for just over two years. My responsibilities include planning and implementing annual promotion activities to enhance sales numbers. Occasionally, I would also help host the special guests to show them around the company, introduce the departments to them, etc.

Before working at XYZ, I worked for five years in the marketing department for an e-commerce business. My key responsibilities were to get exact information of products from vendors to push through our e-commerce channels. Due to the extensive workload, I acquired a great deal of experience in the field as a marketing team member.”

“I look forward to further developing my marketing expertise in fashion and hence I have applied for this position in your company. I believe that my experience in e-commerce can be useful in tackling the distribution system of yours. Also, my organization and planning skills will help me lead the marketing team effectively to enhance the team’s performance.”

A Financial Analyst

“Since my teenage years, I have always been curious about how finance works and what people can do with all the information they have. My father was an accountant and I learned a lot from him about the importance of transparent financial information. My interest for finance and business started since then and I took on the graduate degree with a major in financial analysis.”

“I started out working at a local bank as a data analyst and worked my way to the senior position. I dealt with the bank’s internal data to identify discrepancies and clear them up. My work helped the bank’s accountant department a great deal and I also gained great insights from them. I was offered the management position of the data analysis team, but I want a career in financial analysis.”

“I came across your job ad when browsing for new opportunities, and I have to say the job description fits me so well. And I have the technical skills and experience that you are seeking, and I also look forward to taking up a challenging job. I’m glad to start anew as a financial analyst at your company because I know there are great things I can learn while working here.”

What To Do When CEOs Interview You

Let’s say that you’ve made it to the final round, and you’re meeting the CEO for an interview. Don’t panic! Take your time to prepare the basics we’ve mentioned above carefully, and get ready for more tips.

What To Do When CEOs Interview You
Don’t panic when CEOs interview you. Image: cloudinary

Complex Interviews Questions CEOs May Ask

With their years of experience working in the industry, CEOs tend to have met almost every type of employee there can be. They are capable of reading the applicants and distinguishing fake answers from authentic ones. At the same time, CEOs give concise but complicated questions. Let’s see below five sample questions and answers to expect in an interview with CEOs.

“Tell Me About Yourself.”

CEOs also love to ask this question. For example, Sean Foster, SEO of Crowdtap, asked this question to understand the candidates’ passions. With such an open-ended question, the CEO requests the candidate to tell his story in his own words. Thus, prepare your answer with authentic details that may interest the interviewer. The CEOs want to know you as a person, hence be original with this question.

“How Do You Learn?”

A straightforward question sometimes catches you off-guard. Stephen Baker, CEO of Attivio, uses this question to find the best employees not discouraged by change. When you articulate how you learn a new skill, it signals discipline, organization skills, and a growth mindset. This four-word question will help CEOs gain critical insight about you and therefore to select you or not. Plan how you will answer this question, and remember to add examples of how you have learned so far.

“Tell Me How You Have Approached Change.”

This one is the favorite interview question of Gerald Hassell, the CEO, and chairman of BNY Mellon. By asking this question, Hassell emphasizes adaptability as among the essential qualities in employees today. The CEOs wouldn’t only take your answer but also watch your body language and demeanor when answering this question. They would then decide how ready you are to roll with the punches and maintain good performance.

What Questions To Ask CEOs

The CEOs would conclude the interview by asking you whether you have any questions for them. To have meaningful questions to ask CEOs, applicants can ask the CEOs questions about the organization, the position, or the CEOs themselves. Here are some tips on how to ask such questions smoothly.

To ask the CEOs about the organization, applicants can inquire about the CEOs’ visions for the next ten years. Applicants can also ask about the values of the company and why the company chose such values. The CEOs could also be interested in sharing any upcoming cooperation that promises extraordinary growth.

At the same time, applicants can ask questions to understand more about the position they want. What are the career advancement possibilities for the job? How will this position best improve the current status of the company? They can even frankly ask what other skills they have to acquire to perform efficiently in this position. Such questions also show that applicants are very serious about getting the job.

Last but not least, why don’t you ask about the CEOs themselves? You can make use of the information you’ve learned about them in prior preparation. For example, you could ask the start-up CEOs what they learned during the early days of business. Or you can also ask the CEOs if they have any advice for you professionally. It’s a good chance for you to pick their brains and learn something beneficial to you.

The Final Thought

CEOs are outstanding experts who have honed their skills over the years in the industry. Having a chance to meet and raise questions to ask CEOs is a good learning curve for job applicants. At the same time, the interview with CEOs helps to seek capable and valuable employees for the organization, not to belittle anybody. Therefore, intimidating though it may be, adequate preparations will show how you are serious about the position and know about the company. And hopefully, your preparations will pay off!

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John Hobbs

At Jobandedu, John Hobbs holds the position of senior blogger. Though Hobbs has achieved massive success as a researcher, adviser, and writer, he still had to undergo multiple trials and tribulations before finding his true calling. He considered it his life's work to assist others in discovering and developing their full potential. His broad expertise in diverse fields and specifications allows him to provide insightful, real-world advice. His writings offer in-depth guidance on finding and excelling in a career, using information gleaned from extensive study and his personal experience. Hobbs also has a creative and engaging writing style, which he uses to publish pieces wherein he discusses his interests, views, and studies.