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Top 6 types of job interview questions for senior managers and senior executives

interview questions for senior executives

These top 6 senior management interview questions are suitable for these senior level roles:

  • Senior leaders
  • Senior managers / management
  • Senior executive
  • Senior leaders / leadership roles

As a senior professional executive career coach & outplacement expert, you may feel out of practice when it comes to the executive or manager level job interview and are in need to look for the top interview questions for senior managers that are asked in an interview. Perhaps you’re used to being on the other side of the desk and being the candidate comes as a new challenge to you? However, other companies work differently and you need to see the interview from another perspective before answering your own senior manager interview questions.

You know that the key to a successful interview is the depth of preparation undertaken beforehand and you’ve no doubt polished your interviewing skills to be ready to answer some tough interview questions for executives. You must be seen as a high calibre candidate that stands out from the rest when answering senior level interview questions. But are you prepared for the truly tough interview questions to land a senior management or leadership role?

Our partners at Experteer have consulted recruiters, and HR managers and identified the 6 most common types of interview questions for senior managers, senior executive and senior leadership roles alike.

Before your next senior level job interview comes along, consider the following interview questions, think back to your own experiences and interests, and you’ll be well on your way to landing your next (and best) senior level role!

Top 6 types of job interview questions for senior managers and senior executives Executive Connexions

Here is the textual format of the infographic:

Top 6 Types Of Interview Questions For Senior Managers

  1. Classic

Insight: Work on crafting an elevator pitch for questions like these. Keep it short, about 1 – 2 minutes, and focus on a few key points, like your past experience, your professional goals, and why this company fits with your plans for the future.

  • What are you passionate about?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me about yourself

Answer – “When I finished my studies at Wharton, I realised that my passion for green tech would pair perfectly with my business degree. I have more than twenty years of experience now in environmental tech consulting, and I think this would be an excellent fit at a company like EnviroClean. I’m especially excited about your Go Green or Go Home initiative. It reminds me of some of the volunteer work I’ve done in the past, and these causes are very important to me.”

2. Brainteaser

Insight: When interviewing for a more analytical position, your interviewer isn’t looking for a specific figure. Rather, your method of problem-solving is what’s being examined. If you need to ask a question or two to make sure you understand the question, this demonstrates that you gather all necessary info before rushing ahead. Don’t pull out a calculator – just stay calm, and explain your thought process for determining an answer.

  • How heavy is the Statue of Liberty?
  • How many hotel shampoo bottles are used every day?
  • How many gas stations are there in the United Kingdom?

Answer – “Well, the population of this city is 30,000, and I’d say we have roughly 15 gas stations. So, if we can assume this is an average, we can say that for every 30,000 people in the UK, there are 15 gas stations. The population of the United Kingdom is 300 million, which would leave us with 150,000 gas stations.”

3. Decision Making

Insight: Recruiters have several angles for senior manager interview questions like these. But important factors include your ability to make quick decisions under pressure, to defend an answer, and how you present your rationale when reaching a conclusion. Be prepared to explain yourself.

  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision?
  • Have you ever broken a rule? What was the rule, and why?
  • What kind of process do you use when making a tough decision?

Answer – “At my last company, we made some important changes to our structure. This meant that we were forced to let go of several employees, and I was placed in charge of this process. I took many factors into account, including past performance reviews, recent sales figures, and seniority, and I worked with my boss to finalise the decision. I also worked to ensure that all terminated employees would receive fair compensation.”

4. Situational

Insight: People skills are hugely important when applying for a senior management position. Remember a few examples of positive or significant situations from your past work experience that you can highlight to illustrate your leadership and conflict resolution abilities. Here are the situational senior executive interview questions:

  • What was your greatest success in your last company?
  • How would you address tension between you and your employees?
  • Name three traits you dislike in coworkers and employees.

Answer – “I take deadlines very seriously, so I might get frustrated if a colleague struggles to finish their work on time. I also value communication, so coworkers who do not communicate clearly can be a challenge for me. And lastly, authenticity is very important to me. If I feel that an employee isn’t being honest, it can lead to trust and accountability issues.”

5. Personality

Insight: Most companies use these questions to determine cultural fit. So while there might not be any “right” answer, it’s important to be honest with yourself. Pick an authentic but appropriate answer that matches your interests, and aligns with the values of the organisation. For example, if you’re interviewing for a senior position at a tech startup, consider these questions as a basis for your answers.

  • What are your hobbies?
  • Who is your hero?
  • What websites do you visit most often?

Answer – “I usually stay up to date on industry news with sites like TechCrunch, Business Insider, Wired and Tech Radar, with an RSS aggregator app on my smartphone. I also browse Quora for general insights into questions or debates in the techshere. But in my free time I also love MacRumors and Mashable, for pop culture news.”

6. Research

Insight: Whether you compile a 15 page analysis on the company’s current status, or simply study the corporate website the night before, it is imperative that you prepare for your senior management interview. Enter the senior level interview with a solid knowledge of the company’s history, a clear understanding of the business model, and an idea of how you would approach your daily duties if you got the job.

  • What do you know about our company?
  • How would you handle our biggest competitor?
  • What’s the biggest challenge facing our company today?

Answer – “I’ve followed your company for a while, and in my research, I’ve noticed that over the years, your competition has been catching up. To maintain your position as an industry leader, I think you need to invest in younger talent, specifically digital natives. By bringing in some new innovative staff members and revamping your online presence, you stand to improve your reputation with today’s younger generation, as well as fostering some creative ideas for your company.”

We hope that answers your senior level interview questions for senior managers and senior leaders alike. If you wish to perfect your senior executive interview questions before heading into the interview for your dream job, don’t forgot to consult with a career coach at Executive Connexions and we’ll get you in tip top shape.

We help our clients to develop robust strategies to perform at their best and succeed in senior level job interviews. If you need help call Steve on +44 (0) 203 384 4188 or email contact@executiveconnexions.com.

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