What are management interview questions

25 candidate CEO interview questions and answers

Tactical answers ✓ “Airplane” test ✓ Surprising question from the CEO ✓ Interview with the board of directors ✓

A mix is ​​waiting for you: There are the typical questions CEOs ask and the unfamiliar and surprising ones that are meant to get you out of your reserve. That's why we've put together a collection of 25 questions for you so that you can train yourself to answer CEO questions convincingly.

Note: You assume that you will be interviewed by top managers, but you also want to climb to the C-Level yourself: Then you will find helpful information here: CEO application.




Interview with CEO: classic questions

Warming up with classics: Even if the first six classic questions from the "leaders" listed here may sound familiar, you should not underestimate them. After all, you have to constantly adapt your answers with reference to the advertised position and the specific job profile.

Combine arguments and emotions: Furthermore, it is important to convey condensed information in a short time and at the same time to let the right dose of emotions flow in, keyword “story and success”.

  1. Elevator Pitch: Let's say you get on the elevator at the same time as the CEO. What do you tell him to make a positive and lasting impression?

  2. What is the difference between you and other applicants?

  3. What was your biggest failure?

  4. What do you not like to do at all?

  5. A hammer and nail cost € 1.10 together. The hammer costs one € more than the nail. How much does the nail cost? (Answer at the end of the article.)

  6. What three questions do you have for me?




Why a board member asks differently

Now it's getting exciting: CEOs, board members, managing directors and owners ask differently in job interviews than trained HR employees. They often ask their favorite questions, which have already upset applicants slightly or more in previous job interviews.

Your answer please: And that is exactly the purpose of the unconventional and surprising questions. Applicants should react and answer confidently in an uncertain situation.

  1. What would we have to ask of you so that you don't take the job?

  2. Who impressed you professionally and why?

  3. How important is humor to you?

  4. On a scale from one to ten: Where do you classify your current board member / CEO / managing director?

  5. Follow-up question: And why not ten?
    Alternative follow-up question: If you give him a ten, why do you want to switch?

  6. What is not on your résumé that I should know about you anyway?

  7. How do you describe yourself with a single word?

  8. What three adjectives would you use to characterize yourself?

  9. If you get the job, what should we toast in a year when we were celebrating your first year with us?

  10. Can you tell me a truth that most people would disapprove of, even though it is obviously true?




When the CEO is older

Senior asks Junior: Board members over the age of 50 also like to rely on these well-known and somewhat “outdated” questions. If you are actually asked the questions, please be serious. You don't want to laugh at your future boss in front of the entire team.

  1. What's your favorite street in Monopoly?

  2. Which is your favorite animal?

  3. If Ferrero's surprise egg were a person, what qualities would he have?

  4. Which car brand would you like to be?

  5. How many Smarties fit in a VW bus?

  6. How many tennis balls can a Boeing 737 fit?

  7. What would you do if you had a million euros?

  8. Do you prefer to shower or bathe?




A question that bosses ask themselves

  1. Would I like to sit next to this applicant on an intercontinental flight on the plane?

Inspiration: If you would like further suggestions for good answers and suggestions from hundreds of exemplary formulations, we recommend our e-learning interview for specialists, executives and top managers. Incidentally, they are also available in English.




Examples of your answers to CEO questions

  1. A classic of the question or request “Tell me something about yourself!”: Use your self-presentation (here: 51 examples as PDF).

  2. It's not about the weaknesses of other applicants that you don't even know. It's about your strengths and unique selling points.

  3. Answer tactically and please do not choose an example that makes you completely unsuitable for the new tasks.

  4. Your credibility is required, but the tactic here too is not to mention anything that is important for the new position.

  5. see below

  6. How did you get in? What do you still love about the company today? What is important to maintain market leadership in the future? etc.

  7. Keyword "realistic activity forecast". What do you like about the new position? And what would actually keep you from signing an employment contract?

  8. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ferdinand Piëch, Günter Fielmann, Hans Riegel Bonn (Haribo), Simone Bagel-Trah, Ann-Kristin Achleitner, Melanie Kreis, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Meg Whitman

  9. Hopefully important enough.

  10. At eight to nine, after all, you want to move to a better-run company.

  11. see 10.

  12. Show yourself as a person, keyword "storytelling"

  13. "Successful person", "endurance athlete", "marathon runner", "decathlete" etc.

  14. persistent, structured, goal-oriented, etc.

  15. on increasing sales, optimizing processes, restructuring, reducing costs, expanding market shares, etc.

  16. "Lots of people are jealous."

  17. "Schlossallee" and by no means "party mile"

  18. "Lion", "Jaguar", "Tiger" etc. but please not "Mouse", "Rabbit" or "Cow"

  19. "Creative", "innovative", "dynamic", "flexible"

  20. "Wartburg" or "BMW"?

  21. The rule here is that the journey is the goal. Describe your approach, the exact result is unimportant, a typical brain teaser.

  22. see 21.

  23. Buy shares in the company you are currently applying to.

  24. You are dynamic, so take a shower. Bathing at most during the wellness weekend.

  25. If you can answer the CEO questions listed here and supplement them with your own creative questions, definitely! Because CEOs hate boredom and predictability.

Answer to the "hammer and nail" question: Of course, the nail doesn't cost 10 cents, but 5 cents, because 5 cents and € 1.05 for the hammer add up to € 1.10 ;-)

Christian Püttjer & Uwe Schnierda twitter: career coaches

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