How to prepare for an interview with a CEO

Take these steps to make a great impression.

How to prepare for an interview with a CEO

Prepare questions to ask a CEO in an interview.

So you have a job interview with a CEO. Welcome to the big leagues! At this point you’ve probably already made a great impression on the hiring manager and other key decision makers. Now all that’s left is to sell yourself to the company leader.

Wondering how to wow the top brass? Here’s how to prepare for an interview with a company’s CEO.

Do some detective work

Put on your private investigator’s cap—you’ll need it to dig into the CEO’s background. Your mission is to gather as much information about the head honcho as possible so that you have intel you can leverage during the interview.

Check out the CEO’s social media accounts to see what businesses the person has worked for during their career. Based on what they share, what topics are they especially passionate about, and what accomplishments do they seem most proud of?

Also, do a search on Google News to see if they’ve spoken to media recently or have been involved in any major projects that’s generating buzz.  

Show admiration for the company

Not only do you want to research the CEO, you also want to make sure you’re very familiar with the company’s history and any current news. You probably already did this kind of homework when you were preparing for your initial interviews with HR and the hiring manager, but it can definitely benefit you to reiterate what you learned to the CEO.

Like many people, CEOs are susceptible to flattery. However, you don’t want to come off as a brown-noser. Your best approach, therefore, is to compliment the CEO by praising the company’s performance. Maybe the firm earned above-average revenue last quarter, or it recently launched a new product that’s been in development for years. Your interest in the company will go a long way.

Prove you fit the company culture

While it’s critical that you call out your big career wins, core skills, and the unique perspective that you bring to the table during your interview with the CEO, you also need your personality to come through.

It’s no secret employers hire based on cultural fit. Leaders often set their company’s culture based on their leadership style, so demonstrating to the CEO that you’re a good fit is a must.

“Providing examples that demonstrate how your attitude and mindset make you a good fit to work there can help you show you’re in alignment with the company's culture and values,” says Vicki Salemi, Monster's career expert.

Get ready to revisit your answers

You met with the HR team and hiring manager, but don’t expect that everything you told them will have made its way to the CEO’s ears. Be ready to answer these common interview questions again:

Questions to ask a CEO in an interview

Just as it’s expected that you’ll ask questions in your initial interview, you need to also have a handful of smart questions to ask the CEO.

  • How would you describe your leadership style?
  • What excites you the most about where this company is heading?
  • What challenges within the company are you most occupied with currently?
  • How do you set goals for this particular department?
  • How and how often does senior management communicate with the rest of the company?

Say the right things

Acing a job interview with a CEO, hiring manager, or recruiter is all about choosing your words carefully. Want some help crafting compelling answers? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you’ll get interview insights, career advice, and job search tips sent directly to your inbox to help you become a top-shelf candidate. From making small talk to discussing industry trends to negotiating a job offer, Monster’s expert help can show you just what to say so that your skills and value shine through.