The executive director job interview, like any other high ranking executive interview, is designed to find out if a candidate can perform the job at hand and fit into the company culture and management. The interview questions are typically crafted based on several competencies including operational excellence, optimistic drive, relations and public relations, leadership, and strategic thinking. To ace your executive director job interview, you need to prepare yourself for the following common questions.
1. What are your strengths?
To answer this question without dithering, you need to highlight your areas of strength in respect to what the recruiter is looking for.
2. What is your management style?
You may answer this question by describing the management style you have served under. To leave some room for more inquisition and appear as someone who is open to change, always highlight the input of other team members.
3. How much compensation are you looking for?
This is a tricky question, which you shouldn’t approach directly because it has pitfalls. Remember, if you ask for too much money, the recruiter might decide to ignore your application.
One successful strategy is to approach this question using a quote from a third-party research company or agency. The other approach is to first ask the recruiter, about the company’s philosophy on compensation.
Here is a list of 15 other interview questions for executive directors and how you should approach or answer the questions.
1. Tell us why you want to lead this company?
This is a must win question, if you want to be considered for the position. Your answer needs to infuse some elements of personal conviction and your areas of strength. Since the board wants to be proud of the decision they make to hire you as their new executive director, show commitment and reasons why you believe you are the best candidate .
2. What experience do you have in this executive field?
When you apply for the position of executive director, you need to posses relevant qualifications and work experience. However, if you are making a move from a different career, you need to be honest and creative to be able to match your current experience and qualifications with what you aspire to become because some skills don’t change irrespective of position.
3. Why should we hire you?
You are supposed to answer this question by linking your education, experience and personality with the job description. You also need to do some homework to find out more details about the company culture and expectations. Your aim here is to stand out from the crowd because employers are more inclined to hire someone who is charismatic, energetic and passionate.
4. Tell me a suggestion you offered as an executive that was implemented?
Your focus here is on implementation. This question is often asked to gauge your level success in overseeing the execution of a plan. You can give an example of a proposal you offered and implemented, but be careful not to mention a plan that did not go down well after implementation.
5. What is your greatest weakness?
This is another trick question, which you need to think of ahead of time. To answer this question, be realistic and provide a work related flaw. For example, you can talk about a lesson you learned from a failure to implement a certain strategy in your previous assignment.
6. What challenges do you expect in this position?
This question is aimed at finding out what you are looking for in your next job. The best way to go about it is by explaining how well you would apply your skills and experience along with the flexibility to execute the job in hand. You can also point out a specific goal and the type motivation or strategy you used to reach your goal.
7. Have you had a conflict before, how did you overcome it?
This behavioral question is usually asked to establish how you would react to a conflict situation. To answer the question, think about a past disagreement and state how you went about solving it. The key to answering this question is understanding the other person’s perspective and creating a lasting collaborative solution.
8. What do you know about us?
When you are discussing products, programs or services offered by a company, do not forget to add elements like work ethics and strategic thinking in order to create a well-rounded answer. If you point an area of weakness, add a thing or two on what can be done to rectify the problem.
9. What do you think is the role and value of the board in your success as executive director?
Talk about the importance of having a working partnership with the board, more so if you will be answerable to them.
10. As the executive director, you will be a leader and manager. What do you think about this?
To avoid repetitions, take this opportunity to highlight the responsibilities of a leader and what is to be expected of him or her. Be eloquent and make the statements compelling to the eyes of the panel, you might just win them over with your wits.
11. Why do you want to work in this industry?
If you work in a different industry, state the similarities between your current job and the one you are interviewing for. The key here is to show your interest in the job. You can also score high marks by giving a brief story that proves you are passionate about the job.
12. Six months down the line. How will we know that we made a great hire?
When answering this question avoid giving too many promises, but be sure to mention perceptible and non-perceptible things that stand out such as:
- Encourage informative and engaging board meetings
- Give statistics about growth and budget
- Suggest that you will enter into a formal meeting with the chairman of the board in 6 months time to discuss progress.
13. What kind of salary do you expect?
This is a very common question during interviews. The best approach is to delay your response somewhat by making an inquisition. For instance, you can ask to know the range the company offers for the position. If the panel responds in kind, then go on and state your salary range.
14. Why did you leave your last position?
A recruiter can ask you this question to gauge your temperament and personality. It is an important question because the recruiter wants to know if you will fit into the company structure and culture.
He or she may also want to find out if you have any underlying personality issues or signs of conflict. One way to do it is by highlighting positive developments that you have been part of in the past.
15. Is there anything else you would like to add or tell us?
Once the interviewing panel has asked you all the pertinent question , you may be asked this one last open-ended question. When answering, try not to mess things up by saying something like “No, I do not have anything to say.”
Doing this will almost certainly endanger your chances. To approach this question fully prepared, prepare a closing statement before hand.