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The hiring process can be stressful for everyone involved, especially when your organization is hiring for roles in the C-suite. You aren’t just looking for your next employee, you’re looking for a strategic leader who will take your HealthTech to the next level. Turnover in the C-suite is disruptive, and you’ll need to ask tough questions to make sure you’re hiring the right candidate first-time around. The following key skills to look for and questions to ask will help you filter through the noise and conduct a successful C-suite interview.

Key Skills To Look For In C-Suite Executives 

Every executive level employee should be an expert in their individual field. For example, a CFO needs in-depth knowledge of accounting and financial matters, while a CMO should have extensive experience in marketing. But all employees who hold these positions should have one thing in common: a strategic mindset to help them to drive successful business decisions. As well as this, some of the key skills to look out for in your C-suite candidate are:

  • Leadership
  • Change management
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision-making
  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness

Questions To Ask In A C-Suite Interview 

How do you motivate others? 

Ultimately, you’re looking for a leader, and a leader must be able to motivate those around them. Ask for concrete examples of how they’ve motivated others in the past. Look for an answer which shows tactical and strategic motivation of others, and question how this influence brought positivity and success to their team.

If you could change one thing about our company today, what would it be? 

A C-suite role entails 100% competency and responsibility. Executives are hired to think on their feet and to make the big decisions, and this question helps assess their ability and diligence to do this. It also gives you an idea of how thoroughly they’ve researched your company, and whether they’re able to feel out the elements which are working for your organization, and the elements that could be improved. While a fully thought-out, strategic answer isn’t necessary, a great candidate will have done their research, recognize that your company isn’t perfect – as no company is – and be transparent in their answer.

How would you describe our company culture? 

Again, this is a good test of how well they’ve researched your organization. How well do they know your company values and mission? And how much do these values match their own? The concept of company culture is increasingly becoming a top priority within the recruitment process. With a C-suite position holding seniority at your company, it’s extremely important that they are a cultural fit, as they are someone who will impact the entire company culture through their leadership style.

C-Suite Interview

How do you manage conflict? 

Asking this will reveal the strength of their interpersonal skills. What is their experience with conflict? Do they have specific examples of conflicts they’ve managed in the past? Is their approach to conflict the best fit for your organization and culture? Ultimately, you’re testing how well the candidate can listen to the input and opinions of others, as well as their ability to negotiate, encourage and build harmony among many employees.

How do you promote togetherness and collaboration between the C-level executives and others within the company? 

Again, this question will assess whether they are in line with your company culture. Even though much of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of a C-Suite executive, their ability to encourage togetherness and to interact with all employees – regardless of level – says a lot about how they value other company members’ contributions. A strong candidate will reaffirm the belief that all employees have a unique impact and are paramount to the company’s overall success.

Tell me about a time when you were criticised by a boss or fellow board member. How did you handle it? 

Criticism is a part of any job, especially when sitting at an executive level. However, some leaders struggle to accept criticism, especially if they believe it isn’t justified. While confidence in C-suite executives is important, you need someone who will remain open to feedback, as this is how they will grow into the roll and become mouldable to your organization.

man and women in meeting discussing career progression

What is the best and worst career advice you’ve received in your working career? 

Their answer to the best advice they’ve ever received usually reveals what’s most important to them. When they talk about the worst advice, their answer should sound authentic. Both in and outside of work, people are given poor advice and can make bad decisions, but it’s important that their answer is honest and backed up with justification.

What skills would you say you are lacking? 

The best candidates will be upfront, honest, and demonstrate excellent self-awareness when answering this question. In asking this, you’re challenging the candidate to look inwards and honestly review their abilities. C-suite candidates may be caught out when answering this question, as it’s often associated with interviews for more junior positions. But, no matter how high-level or experienced anyone is, it’s important to assess their self-understanding.

At storm3, we can help advise you on how to effectively interview C-suite level candidates, as well as connect you with highly-skilled executives in HealthTechs across the globe. Get in touch to speak with one of our consultants about your hiring needs, or learn more about the roles we work with.

We’ve helped some of the most successful HealthTech startups grow.

— now it’s your turn.

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