5 questions to ask when hiring a CEO

Article originally published in the Philadelphia Business Journal on March 9, 2015

As a former CEO and as a current director and trustee on a number of boards, I am asked to interview candidates for senior leadership positions at for-profit and nonprofit organizations. By the time I am asked to interview a candidate, they have gone through the vetting process regarding their skills, experience and the results they have achieved during their careers. Therefore, I focus on five questions that reveal a lot about an individual’s value system and leadership style, which based on my experience indicates a lot about whether the candidate will be effective and successful.

If you are the interviewer of a candidate for a senior leadership position, ask these questions. If you are the candidate being interviewed, decide how you would respond to them.

  • What does tone at the top mean to you, and what tone will you set for your organization?
  • What is the corporate or institutional culture you will nurture within your area of responsibility?
  • When hiring direct reports, what attributes do you look for, and how will you search for and select the very best people to work for you?
  • How would you describe your leadership style?
  • How will you lead, motivate and inspire every employee within your organization to achieve great results?

Tone at the top

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