Prepare for an interview with the CEO

Ten powerful answers to interview questions from the CEO.

Congratulations! So you have progressed to Round 2 or 3 and are invited to interview with the CEO. While that’s great news, preparing for the interview can be quite another thing. If you thought preparing for the job interview was stressful, imagine  sitting across the table from the CEO.
Here are ideal responses to some tricky interview questions that may be directed at you.

 1. Why have you changed multiple jobs over the last 2 years?
In today’s fluid work environment, it’s normal for professionals to frequently change jobs. It’s a common trend for companies to recruit people who have changed jobs. If you are asked to explain, it’s because they want to assess your loyalty to employers and your decision-making process.

Your ideal response:
Mention a few experiences that have shaped your career in a positive way. Always be truthful about why you had to change jobs. You could surely add that you have been searching for the right job that fits your career goals and how the job you are applying for perfectly fits these goals.

2. What do you hope to accomplish within the next year/next two-five years?
CEOs surely want to know what you’re going to accomplish once hired for the position.

Your ideal response:
Here is your chance to impress them with your vision for the future – for yourself and for the company. Explain how you will use your skills to help the organization reach the next level. Definitely reference previous accomplishments that would support your vision for this job.

3. Would you quit your job if you were given an offer with a higher pay?
Certainly a tricky but well meaning question. The CEO may want to determine if you are really passionate about the job or if you’re simply in it for the paycheck.

Your ideal response:
The right thing to do here is to be completely honest and candid with your answer. Whether you simply want a job for an income or you are 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.

Your ideal response:
Share one or a couple of success stories from your career that’s relevant to the position you’re interviewing for, where you used the very skills you have qualified for.

5. Tell me about a project that inspired you to be innovative and creative.
Many CEO’s prefer to hire candidates with strong creative thinking skills. Chances are, CEOs will ask candidates how they can push the envelope in their positions once hired.

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

6. How would your previous boss 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.

Your ideal response:
This is a great 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 from the experience and how you turned it into a positive experience.

7. How do you align yourself with our mission, vision and values?
The CEO will ask this question because the company  wants to know if you understand what they want to accomplish.

Your ideal response:
Use this opportunity to show that you have spent time researching the company. Focus your answer on what you’ve learned about the culture of the organization. Also, incorporate your personal values in the answer and how they will help you bring greater success to the organization.

8. How do you enjoy your after-work hours or what do you do for leisure?
This is another question the CEO may ask to learn more about your personality and values.

Your ideal response:
It’s important to be genuine when answering this question. Talk about your hobbies and volunteering interests that have shaped you as a person, which are also appropriate for an interview setting. For example, talk about how you volunteer your time helping fellow immigrants or how you’re a tennis player in your free time or that you teach at a Salsa class. Sharing passions such as these display how your leadership and soft skills transfer into your personal life.

9. What makes you excited about Monday mornings?
Waking up on Monday mornings can be a struggle for most professionals. However, when you love your job, Mondays can be positive. The CEO is seeking a future colleague who is passionate and brings a can-do attitude.

Your ideal response:
This is your opportunity to demonstrate how you are self-motivated and passionate. You can share about what inspires you most in your life and career and how you plan to use that to drive your energy on Monday and every day of the week.

10. How do you plan to make a difference with your career?
Employers want to learn what drew you to the industry, why you’re passionate about what you do and your future career plans.

Your ideal response:
Start with the reason you first become interested in your career. Maybe it’s what you always wanted to do or it’s your first  internship or co-op assignment that attracted you to your career. When you share your passion, ensure that you connect the dots – ensure that you highlight experiences that relate to the job you’re interviewing for.


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