Tag Archives: interview questions

Five Best Executive Interview Questions

Today’s blog is specific interview questions to ask when hiring for an executive level role. Executive level roles can be defined loosely in different ways, but typically, we like to think of an executive level role as a vice president or above. Depending on the structure of your company, though, this could be a director level or above, again depending on the size and structure of your company.

CHALLENGES WITH HIRING EXECUTIVES

The point is, you should know if you’re hiring for an executive position or not. Hiring for executives can come with its own set of challenges. Executive roles tend to have very common threads with the things that are important about them. Typically an executive level role has a leadership or management responsibility, and this is something that’s important to be able to interview for. An executive level role also will tend to have responsibility over strategy, and oftentimes financials, as well, and will also typically be involved with making high-level decisions that have major business consequences.

NO PARTICULAR ORDER

The following questions are not in any sort of specific order, as the order of importance could depend on what’s more important for you with this particular role. Positions are extremely custom, depending on the company. So there’s no such thing as the five best questions for executives across the board.

QUESTION #1 – OVERCOMING CHALLENGES

One question that is certainly important is to ask the candidate about challenges they’ve had in the past and how they overcame them. You want to ask the question just like that. You want to say, “Tell me about some challenges or difficulties you’ve had in your previous positions, and then tell me how you overcame those.” Asking an open-ended question like this will give you a lot of insight, depending on how the candidate answers. The candidate will be giving you insight into what they consider challenges, first and foremost. Secondly, you’ll get to see how they think and how their brain works when it comes to overcoming those challenges. This is very important when it comes to hiring somebody at an executive level.

QUESTION #2 – DAY TO DAY RESPONSIBILITIES

Another really important question to ask is to have the executive walk you through their day-to-day responsibilities over a particular period of time. You might want to ask about previous roles or just their most recent role, whatever you feel is relevant. The point is that this is going to give you insight into what their day-to-day looks like and what they have been and are responsible for and what they have a track record doing. This is extremely important because you need to be able to map their experience and their ability to do the job. This is a great way to do this. This is a much better question to ask than, “Do you have experience with digital marketing?” That’s too easy to say yes. Have someone walk you through their day-to-day and be as detailed as possible.

QUESTION #3 – LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT

Another great question to ask the candidate is about their leadership and management style. You can first see how they describe themselves as a leader or a manager. Then you can ask them for examples. Maybe an example of how they impacted a winning team, or an example of how they turned around a losing team, or something of that nature. But what you want them to do is to give you examples of how they’ve applied their leadership and management style and what the outcome was.

QUESTION #4 – GAME PLAN

Another critical question that you can ask, and that we recommend with all executive hires as a part of the interview process, is to have that person put together a 30, 60 and 90 day plan of what they’re going to do in their first quarter at the job. You may need to provide them with certain information to do this, but this can be an extremely useful exercise, and will give you some real insight into what to expect when this person comes in on the job. Interviews need to go much further beyond how you feel about a person and how they answer questions. They need to go into and give you as much information on how somebody would actually execute the responsibilities of the job. This is a really great way to do that.

QUESTION #5 – CULTURE

A final critical question that we recommend be involved with all executive hires, and really all hires for that matter, is to talk to them about culture. You should have a defined company culture that includes core values, a mission statement and anything else that truly outlines the culture and personality of your company and of your brand. There should be a discussion as part of the interview around what this is. Allow the candidate to ask questions. Ask them questions. Find out how they feel about your company and your culture. Find out how they see themselves fitting in and how they would enrich and add to that culture. Hiring for culture-fit is one of the most challenging things. Someone who checks all the boxes from a technical perspective that doesn’t fit in from a cultural perspective is never going to last. So it’s important to have this as part of your interview process.

CONCLUSION

The five above questions will give you a ton of insight into someone’s ability to be able to do your job, as well as how they would fit into the company. Combining them with potentially other technical questions and maybe other specifics about the job are going to give you a really powerful insight into whether this person would or would not be a fit for the role. If you’re able to apply these questions across multiple candidates, you’re truly going to be able to tell who’s the best fit. As a side note, we recommend using personality assessments, like the DISC assessment, as a supplemental piece to your interview process. These can help give some other insight into how people would handle the job.

Best of luck!

Looking for more questions to ask? Try these: https://bit.ly/2MRlpt7

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How To Write Interview Questions

Writing interview questions and doing the prep work regarding how to interview for any particular position is some of the most critical prep work when it comes to hiring the right talent for your role. Most bad hires are a function of one of a few different things. Either you have a bad set of interview questions that don’t flesh out whether or not the candidate is the right fit, or you have an interviewer who doesn’t know how to ask the right questions, or how to read responses from a prospective employees.

Interviewing truly is an art, and it is an art that most people don’t take seriously enough. Most hiring managers, or anybody in a hiring position, don’t have any formal interview training. Therefore, you end up with a lot of people in management positions who are interviewing, and basically winging it. This can cause a lot of problems, both with hiring individuals in that team, but also organizationally across your company. If you have multiple department heads conducting completely different types of interviews, you’re going to run into trouble when it comes to hiring a cohesive team that is all going to fit together.

CRAFTING YOUR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

So, that is a topic really for another blog, when it comes to the best way to set up your organization to interview and hire effectively. And that will have to be something that we cover in a different post. For now, we want to focus on tips on how to write and craft your interview questions in order to be the most effective. Making a bad hire is one of the most costly mistakes you could make for your company and for your team. On average, a bad hire is going to cost you about $20,000. That is a major expense that needs to be avoided at all costs.

The key to writing good interview questions starts with having a solid job description. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here on how to write job descriptions, as we have many previous posts on writing job descriptions. So, if you don’t have a solid job description for your position yet, that is where you want to start before you even think about what kinds of interview questions you’re going to have. Check out some of our previous blogs on how to write job descriptions for specific positions. If you don’t see your specific position, don’t worry, the posts tend to be very universal in many aspects, so take as much information as you can and write up a solid job description.

CREATING A FOUNDATION FOR YOUR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Once you have a solid job description, you’re going to want to use that job description as a foundation to craft your interview questions. The must haves and the nice to haves, as well as the position description, are going to be the key pieces that you’re going to want to craft your interview questions around. It’s important to remember that an interview goes both ways, so you want part of your interview to be an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions, and to learn and gain information about the company, the culture, et cetera.

You’ll want to make sure too that you have part of your interview as an introduction to your company. In other words, an introduction to what you do, your products and/or your services, how you’re different in the market, as well as topics like what your culture is like, what some of your benefits look like, what are some of the perks, and why someone would want to work for you.

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

These selling points are all extremely critical when it comes to the interview process, so it’s important that you have those worked in around your interview questions themselves. Now, when it comes to crafting interview questions, the most important thing is that your questions don’t lead the witness. I say this a lot in other blogs, and in other places that I’m writing and speaking, that the biggest mistake interviewers make is they lead the witness. In other words, they ask questions that are too easy to answer yes or no to, or they ask questions that contain the answer within the question.

So, asking somebody something like, “Do you have a lot of experience working in digital marketing social media campaigns.” Someone’s easily going to say, “Yes, I have a lot of experience working in digital social media marketing campaigns.” You’ve got to craft your questions in a way that leaves things open ended, so that the answer is going to be one where your candidate has to answer from their experience and their background so that you get a clear picture of their experience.

So, a better question is something like, “Tell me about the last five projects that you worked on, and what those looked like on a day to day basis for you.” And then even going further into saying, “Great, tell me some of the challenges that you had with those projects, and what did you do to overcome them?” Or you can ask something like, “Tell me about the kinds of technologies you’ve worked with recently. What technologies are you strongest working in?”

And then as they answer those questions, you are listening for if their background and their experience match up with what you’re looking for. So, being able to craft questions that tease out what someone’s background is, is important. This is also critical when it comes to finding out about someone’s cultural and personality traits. You don’t ask somebody, “Are you hard working?” You don’t ask somebody, “Do you do well under pressure?” What you ask somebody is something along the lines of, “What is your ideal work environment?” Or you can ask somebody, “What did you like about the culture in your last company, and what didn’t you like about the culture in your last company?”

SETTING THE STAGE FOR YOUR INTERVIEWS

So, as a little side note here, one of the things I always recommend in an interview is to set someone up to be able to answer questions honestly. People walk into an interview and their ultimate goal is they want to get the job. So they’re already pre-programmed to tell you what you want to hear so that they get the job. In other words, people are always trying to give you the right answer. It’s part of human nature.

So, what you want to do is set the stage with folks early on in the interview so that they can answer honestly to see if it’s a good fit for both parties. So, saying something like, “Hey, look, I know you’re interested in this job and you want to make sure this interview goes well. And so do I, but the last thing either of us wants would be for you to work here and it ends up not being a good fit for you. So, feel free to answer questions in this interview honestly. Don’t feel like you have to tell me the answer that I want to hear. I want to know the honest truth, and you should be able to tell me the honest truth, so that we can both gauge if this is a good fit for us.”

Setting the stage like that with somebody is going to give them a lot of freedom to answer questions honestly, so that both you and them can gauge true fit.

CONCLUSION

So, this is a brief insight into how to write interview questions in a way that truly allows you to find the right talent. If you’re able to incorporate this into your team and across your organization, you have the beginnings of a solid foundation for interviewing.

Here are some more great tips for writing your interview questions: https://bit.ly/2QH3MSh

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Top 5 Best Biotech Interview Questions

When hiring in the life sciences industry, there is a specific strategy and specific interview questions you’ll want to ask prospective candidates.

This is important to ensure that you interview and hire the right types of candidates.

This could include the areas of biotech, pharmaceutical and healthcare.

This article will be geared toward hiring in this industry in general, mostly in the marketing, sales and public relations area of things.

Obviously hiring anybody in the sciences capacity, or what we would call a technical capacity, is going to be a little bit different.

In any case though, you can apply these principles when hiring across different segments and types of professionals in the industry.

Regardless of the position, it’s critical that you form your five best questions to ensure that you have a clear picture of what you need.

You want to be clear whether this role is going to be more marketing, public relations, investor relations or sales focused.

Either way at the end of the day it’s important to have a good starting point.

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Like I talk about in other blogs, the most important thing with any type of interview question is that you don’t lead the witness.

This is the biggest mistake interviewers make by asking simple questions that are too easy for candidates to answer.

You don’t want to give the candidate too much of a direction in terms of how to answer your questions.

You want your interview questions designed to get an answer that truly tests or checks in about their candidate experience.

For example, asking something like, “do you have experience marketing pharmaceutical brands?”

This question is leading the witness as it already tells me how to answer it.

It’s too easy for the interviewee to answer the question and figure out what you want to hear versus really understanding their experience.

QUESTION #1

A better way to ask the question, “tell me about the different types of clients or brands that you have experience working with.”

Asking the question this way leaves it open so that the candidate has to answer from their experience.

They have to tell you the types of brands, the types of clients or the types of products that they have worked with.

So again, it’s critical to ask open ended questions so that the candidate will tell you about their client and/or brand experience.

You’re also going to want to know the types of customers and products that they are used to working with.

You want to hear it from them without you giving them a jumping off point.

QUESTION #2

A second critical question is whether or not the candidate has experience working with direct consumer or working with healthcare practitioners.

You don’t want to ask, “do you have experience with direct to consumer” or “do you have experience working with healthcare professionals?”

That’s too easy of a question to answer with a yes or a no and of course they’re going to answer with what you want to hear.

If it’s a sales role, you can ask something like, “tell me about who you were selling to.”

That should elicit a response that will tell you if they were selling more direct to consumer or to healthcare practitioners or a combination of both.

The more clear you are about what you need in the position the better you will know if their experience is a match.

QUESTION #3

Another critical question is designed so that you learn about the types of projects, campaigns, etc. the candidate has experience with.

Do not ask, “do you have experience working with social media” or do you have experience with search engine optimization?”

These questions lead to witness and are easy to answer yes to.

Remember to ask open ended questions like, “tell me about the types of campaigns or projects you have experience working on.”

Have them tell you about their day-to-day.

It is critical for you to hear what their day looks like and to understand the types of campaigns and projects they have experience with.

QUESTION #4

The next question will gauge and determine what type of leadership or mentorship experience the candidate has or doesn’t have.

Depending on the role that you’re filling it may be important this person has management experience.

Or maybe it’s more important that they have hands-on tactical execution experience.

Do not ask a question like, “would you consider yourself hands off” or “would you consider yourself a strong leader?”

These these questions are too easy to just answer yes or no.

You do want to ask, “tell me about your tactical hands-on experience” or “tell me about your managerial experience.”

You could also ask, “tell me what your day looks like” or “tell me what percentage your managing others is hands-on.”

The point is to continue to ask open ended questions which has them tell you what their day-to-day looks like.

You want to hear their managerial and tactical hands-on experience so you know whether they’re a fit for the role that you’re filling.

QUESTION #5

The final important question on list is about salary.

Nowadays asking about salary is tricky because in certain states you can no longer legally ask for salary history.

If you are able to ask what someone’s most recent salary is, that’s a critical question.

If you can legally ask their most recent compensation was, both base and any incentives and benefits.

It’s important early on to find out what someone’s compensation expectations are.

You want to be sure that you’re in the ballpark when it comes to your budget before getting too far down the line.

This could end up being a huge waste of time if their expectations aren’t in your budget.

If you’re not able to directly ask about someone’s compensation you might have to figure out ways to learn what makes sense.

I like asking things like, “what makes sense for you in terms of salary for your next role?”

Or “what is a logical progression for you from your current salary to your next salary?”

You want to ask questions in a way that has a candidate think about what makes sense rather than just from what they would like.

Everybody wants to get paid a ton of money!

Candidates tend to think they can just ask for whatever salary they want and get it.

Asking them in a way that has them think from what’s logical, what’s fair and what makes sense is going to be much better.

This is going to give you a realistic number rather than a pie in the sky number that could shut things down.

CONCLUSION

These five questions are not as important as your contract, but more important in terms of the way that you ask them.

You want to ask open ended questions that don’t lead the witness.

Apply these principles and you will go along way to improve your interview process!


Looking for more great interview questions to add to your list? Here are some great ideas! https://muse.cm/1hLMaHT


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