Good First Interview Questions to Ask Employer – Executives
Preparing good first interview questions to ask is important for a successful executive interview. Expectations during the executive interviews are normally very high and there is always an opportunity to impress interviewers by asking good questions. First interview questions tend to be more general as opposed to asking second interview questions that may be more specific to the job description and employment contract. Interviews should be treated as a two-way process, so there is an opportunity to find out more about the role, whilst at the same time getting interviewers to talk about the company.
Common First Interview Questions to Ask Employer
With some research and preparation asking good questions shows genuine interest in the role, whilst seeking to impress interviewers. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect executives to prepare certain questions in advance to ask and find out more about the role, company culture, employer expectations and so on. It is usually sufficient for executives to prepare 3 or 4 questions to ask, but have one or two in reserve to avoid duplicating what may have been discussed earlier in the interview.
Asking 1st Interview Questions
Finding out more about the company: Good questions will seek to ask about company activities, future plans, new products or key initiatives. Having some prior knowledge by researching the company website may give clues about what to ask and target questions more effectively.
Company Culture: This can reveal detailed about the management style, core values and how the company works, plus gives useful insights into how a candidate would fit into the organisation. For instance, there could be a strong sales / incentive, team working or innovative working environment that may appeal.
The Interviewer Perspective: Asking interviewers about how they enjoy working for the company, motivations for joining, how long they have been there and giving deeper insights into what is going on is a good question to ask. If the employee reveals they have worked there for a long time, this can demonstrate the company looks after their employees and looks to retain talented staff. Just be sure the interviewer gives the impression they enjoy working for the company first!
Job Description Clarification: It is always worthwhile clarifying elements of the job description to gain insights into who candidates would be working with, how the department / boardroom is structured, reporting lines and key areas of responsibility.
Getting Established in the Boardroom: Each executive leadership role carries with it a certain level of expectation, so asking about how the company expects candidates to fit into the role, get established and key deliverables within the first few months are good questions. Equally, the idea is to see how the role will be expected to evolve over the first few months, relating it to the wider organisation and for achieving long-term objectives.
Professional Development: Asking about professional development, training courses and leadership programmes is always useful as this demonstrates a clear career pathway, plus more importantly shows the employer is willing to invest in talented individuals. There may be an internal (in-house) or external programme that could be of interest to candidates in their executive leadership development.
Revealing More Details: It is sometimes worthwhile asking about how the vacancy has arisen. This can reveal about the company’s future growth prospects (i.e. it is a new position because the company has grown). Equally, it may reveal a more negative outlook especially if someone has left the role as they were not suited, did not perform, personalities clashed or the company needs to bring in fresh blood to go through a period of dramatic change. There can be many reasons as to why positions become vacant.
Avoid asking salary questions: Always have a salary negotiation strategy in place in case executives are asked about salary expectations at first interview stage. However, it is not always a good idea for candidates to bring this up at first interview (this is more of a second interview question), especially as it can diminish relative bargaining power and even rule themselves out of a second interview should expectations be too high.
Interview Process Next Steps: It is always important to understand where candidates sit within a wider interview process, plus next steps and how long it will take. If it takes too long, executives may consider other options and use job hunting efforts to pursue other opportunities. Equally, ask about when you are likely to hear about the outcome of this interview to plan ahead.
Closing the Executive Interview: Employers must be convinced about what candidates want, namely a SECOND INTERVIEW. It is important to reiterate interest, leave a positive impression and state positive intent for the next interview stage. This may take the form of a summary statement or finely tuned closing sentence. Other first interview questions to ask employer – examples / list.