ceo interview

Interviewing with a CEO? 10 Tough Questions and Answers

Preparing for a job interview can be stressful. When you throw in an interview with the CEO of the company, the process can become even more intimidating.

If you have an interview coming up and you know you’ll speak with the CEO, here are some interview questions you should be able to answer:

1. Why have you had X number of jobs over the last X years?

In today’s workforce, it’s not uncommon for professionals to job hop. In fact, more than half of employers have hired a job hopper. Most CEOs ask this question because they want to learn about your loyalty to previous employers and your decision-making process.

What to include in your answer:

When talking about your job history, focus on experiences that shaped your career in a positive way. For instance, explain you’ve been searching for the right job that fits your career goals and how the position you’re interviewing for fits these goals.

2. What do you hope to accomplish within the next year?

One of the most important things CEOs want to know about a candidate is what you’re going to accomplish once hired for the position.

What to include in your answer:

Tell the employer about your vision as an employee for their company. The interviewer already knows you’re qualified (on paper) for the position; now you need to explain how you’ll help their company reach the next level.

Talk about a combination of your skills and strengths that will bring you success as an employee. You should also reference previous accomplishment stories that would support your vision for this job.

3. Would you quit your job if you won the lottery, even if you loved your current position?

CEOs may ask this question to determine whether you’re more passionate about finding a job that brings you happiness, or if you’re simply in it for the paycheck.

What to include in your answer:

This might seem like a trick question for most people, but it’s important to be completely honest and candid with your answer. Whether you simply want a job for an income or you’re truly passionate about your career, share your opinion and the reasoning behind your answer.

4. Tell me about an accomplishment that shaped your career.

Employers love hearing about accomplishment stories. Not only do they illustrate how you’re qualified for the position, but also it shows what makes you unique as a candidate.

What to include in your answer:

Share an accomplishment story from past experience that’s applicable to the position you’re applying for.

5. Tell me about a project that forced you to be innovative and creative.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, twenty-one percent of employers want to hire candidates with strong creative-thinking. Chances are, CEOs will ask candidates how they can push the envelope in their positions once hired.

What to include in your answer:

Talk about a project where you were forced to think outside of the box and utilize your resourcefulness. This helps CEOs understand your willingness to take risks and try new things.

6. How would your boss from your last job describe you?

This can be a tricky question, especially if you left your job on a negative note. However, employers ask this question to learn about your personality.

What to include in your answer:

This is a good opportunity to talk about your work ethic and how your personality fit into your previous position. If you had a negative experience at your last job, share what you learned for the position and how you turned it into a positive experience.

7. What do you value most about our culture and vision?

CEOs ask this question because they want to know if a candidate understands what their company is trying to accomplish. CEOs already know you’re going to research the company. Therefore, by asking this question, you’re able to explain what you truly think about the company.

What to include in your answer:

Focus your answer on what you’ve learned about the mission and values of the organization. You should also incorporate your personal values into your answer and how they will help you bring success to the organization.

8. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

This is another question employers ask to learn more about your personality and values.

What to include in your answer:

It’s important to be genuine when answering this question. Talk about your interests and hobbies that have shaped you as a person, which are also appropriate for an interview setting.

For example, talk about how you’re a marathon runner in your free time or that you teach a yoga class. Sharing interests such as these display how your work ethic and leadership skills transfer into your personal life.

9. What makes you excited about Mondays?

Mondays can be a struggle for most professionals. However, when you love your job, Mondays can be positive. A study by CareerBuilder shows that 66 percent of employers seek candidates who are self-motivated and 72 percent want to hire candidates with a positive attitude.

What to include in your answer:

This is your opportunity to share why you’re passionate about your career. Talk about what motivates you most in your career and how you’ll use that passion as inspiration during the work week.

10. Why are you working in this industry?

Employers want to learn what drew you to their industry, why you’re interested in working for their company, and why you’re passionate about what you do.

What to include in your answer:

Share a story about the time when you first become interested in your career. It could be a story about your first internship or an experience that attracted you to this type of work. When you tell your story, be sure to highlight experiences that relate to the job you’re interviewing for.

Have you answered one of these questions during a job interview? 

Categories: Interviews

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