Executive Director Interview Questions

Hiring a new executive director is something that many teams do not relish doing. Replacing what is essentially the face, and the leader, of your organization can be a long and complicated process. Finding candidates for the role is an important first step, and we highly suggest a recruiting firm for this. But now that you have your candidates, what questions do you ask them in the interview?

Read on below for my favorite Executive Director interview questions!

Tell us why you want to lead our organization?

Your new executive director should be able to tell you why they want to work for you, in a few specific words. Bringing in a new leader for your organization is a big change, and having someone in the role who does not have a clear direction to why they are isn’t someone you want to have at the helm.

Tell me about a professional failure you experienced and what you learned from it.

You will face challenges in your career, we all know this. The answer I’m looking for with this question is how they handled this challenge, even if they weren’t able to fully turn it around into a positive. I like to see people take risks, and take their team members input into account when trying to turn around from under performance.

What was your most successful project at work? Why?

I like to ask this question to see the wording the candidate specifically uses in their response. A good leader will acknowledge that they didn’t succeed at a project all by themselves, any candidate that is taking all of the credit for a success is a candidate I don’t want leading any of my teams, let alone my entire organization.

Lets say you were hired tomorrow, what would be your first step?

I always ask this question when interviewing for executives because I like to see their thought process. I also like to see how far out in advance they’ve thought about this position, I’d like to see that they want to work the company. A quality candidate for your company will have a well thought out answer to this question.

Describe someone you coached or mentored. What were they doing initially, and what are they doing now?

Your new Executive Director is in a leadership role, and this will come with some mentor-ship and coaching. I like to see a history of this with my Executive Director candidates because it shows they apply leadership in all aspects of their lives. This is not to say that someone who doesn’t have mentor-ship and coaching experience won’t be a good fit, but having a good idea of what goes into this is always a plus.

These are only a few questions to ask when interviewing for your new Executive Director, do you have any more? Contact us, and let us know!

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