15 Tough Questions You May Get in a Job Interview with a CEO in 2021

When we speak about middle-sized and big companies, you won’t meet with the CEO unless you interview for an executive position, or for a top management job. Even in this case you won’t talk to the head of the company before passing a series of other interviews, led by HR employees and mid-level management.

In small companies, however, the situation differs. CEO can often lead every single job interview, simply because they do not have in their team any skilled interviewers or HR managers, or because they do not trust anyone else when it comes to hiring new employees. Let’s have a look at few things you need to do well to succeed in this interview.

questions current CEOs say they would ask, if they only had time for one single question:
  1. How would you describe yourself in one word? …
  2. What is the last thing you’ve learned on the job? …
  3. What didn’t you get a chance to include on your resume? …
  4. How long are you willing to fail at this job before you succeed?

The Final Job Interview with CEO

2. “What are you most passionate about?”

A CEO is searching for employees who hold great passion for what they do and the company they serve. Often, passion for the role and the company may occur if the employee is also passionate about other aspects of their life.

When answering this question, you can speak about the activities you enjoy and are passionate about. You can then tie it in with how you apply that passion directly to your career. For example, if you’re interviewing for a sales role, you can express your love for working with people and providing value to their lives.

What questions to expect from a CEO?

Besides inquiring about your past projects, and the things you did and achieved in your former jobs (your track record, which, after all, tells the most authentic story about your qualities), CEO will ask you mostly behavioral (scenario-based) questions. Let’s have a look at a short list, consisting of both types of questions:

  • What have you done on a position XY? Can you tell me more about your duties and responsibilities on this position?
  • Did you have any goals on a position XYZ in ABC company? What were your goals? Did you achieve them, and how did you achieve them? If you failed to achieve them, why did it happen?
  • Can you tell me more about the latest project you worked on? Did you face any problems and challenges? Explain how you tackled them.
  • Tell me about a time when you showed initiative in your last job.
  • Describe a time when you felt overwhelmed with work. What did you do to get back on track?
  • What do you think matters the most in our business? What is the difference between the winners and the losers in this industry?
  • If your boss told you you were doing something wrong, but you knew you were doing it right, what would you do?
  • Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleague in the past.
  • How do you imagine your future in our company? What position would you like to have in five years from now?
  • Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work (your colleague, your subordinate, or even your superior, the CEO).
  • Tell me about a time when you had to meet a tight deadline.
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with an angry or upset client (customer).
  • When you had to work on multiple projects, how did you prioritize?
  • Special Tip: If you aren’t sure how to deal with these questions, or you remained silent when you heard them in your last job interview, have a look at our eBook, Ace Your Behavioral-Based Job Interview. Up to 7 sample answers to 31 most common behavioral interview question will help you streamline your interview preparation, make an impression the CEO, and get a job.

    How to prepare for an interview with the CEO

    When interviewing with the CEO, it’s best to prepare beforehand so you can look confident and ready for any question. CEOs often admire candidates who exude confidence and commitment to their work. Here are a few ways you can prepare for your upcoming interview with the CEO.

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