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3 Tips For A Successful Executive Interview Process

April 11, 2024

Interviewing executive candidates is a vital part of building your leadership team. You’re likely not hiring new senior leaders every day, though, so how can you determine the best way to approach the process? 

We asked our team of executive recruiters to share their advice for a successful executive interview process. 

Set accurate expectations

Before the interview process begins, the hiring team should have a clear game plan. Determine who will ask which questions or focus on specific topics. 

You should also set expectations for the cadence of the interview process, and share this information with candidates. We recommend prompt communication with potential hires, including honest feedback and transparency into the process where possible. 

A positive interview experience—one that avoids unnecessary delays, keeps candidates in the loop, and is a clear priority—will help you find and secure top talent.  

Ask the right questions

Once you know a potential leader is qualified for your role, some of the most valuable interview questions are the most straightforward ones. It’s a good idea to use your time to identify why candidates are interested in the role, their expectations for the position, whether they are aligned with your values, or if there are any deal breakers for either party. Building rapport will help you narrow down a list of candidates in an otherwise competitive talent pool. 

Problem-solve with candidates

Prioritize a collaborative working session with top candidates, rather than a traditional presentation or project. Provide an appropriate prompt, data, and context, and set aside time to problem-solve and brainstorm together. 

Keep in mind that there’s a fine line between ensuring you have the right candidate for the job and asking them to do too much before they join your team. The goal isn’t to solve your problem during this exercise, but to see how a potential executive thinks and interacts with your team.  

Done right, this approach will shine a light on candidates’ problem-solving process and give you an idea of what it’s like to work with them. 

Bonus: finish strong

Here at Bolster, we’re lucky to be surrounded by industry experts, both on our team and in our community. Every day, we share advice from leaders in our network on The Daily Bolster podcast. In this episode, John Tincoff of REMUS Capital shares why it’s so important to finish the executive search process strong. 

The interview process can be an arduous one, and when things finally come down to the top candidates, many leaders are tempted to rush through to the end. The danger here: you may end up hiring a good executive, but they might not be the right leader for your team. 

It’s vital to stay invested throughout each step of the executive interview process, doing diligent reference checks, involving someone with functional expertise, and paying attention to the details. 

At Bolster, we’re reinventing executive search by combining the power of experienced recruiters with our intelligent sourcing platform. Built by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, Bolster matches CEOs with transformational executives for full-time, fractional, and board roles—without the hassle of traditional talent sourcing. It’s smarter search done faster and with more confidence.

When you work with Bolster, you get access to an extraordinary team that takes the time to listen, understand, and respond to your needs. As you build your interview process, speak to candidates, and cross the finish line, we’ll be with you every step of the way. 

Want to know more about what it’s like to work with us? Book a time to chat with our team.