Executive Interview Case Study4
When you apply for high-level positions such as CEO, you can expect to be interviewed by the company’s board of directors. The entity may also conduct interviews for other executive positions like CFOs. The leader of the board committee will interview some prospective executives as well. In large public enterprises, the board of directors plays a large part in deciding which CEO to hire. Often, they outsource the task of building a candidate pool to a recruiting firm. The firm will receive a description of what the board wants and will begin the search.
Once the firm has a candidate pool, it will thoroughly evaluate each prospective executive to see if he or she is really what the company is looking for. These recruiters may advise the board regarding the merits of the candidates. At this point, the board will likely delegate the interviewing duties to a capable subgroup. The group will be responsible for limiting the pool of prospective executives after a round of interviews. Following this step, the remaining candidates will encounter the entire board in an interview. Depending on the company, the board may only want to speak with current CEOs, individuals with experience in an executive position or those who have managed large operations in the past.
For the executive interview case study4, you will follow “Richard” thorough his experiences interviewing for executive positions. He has experience being a CEO in a Fortune 500 company and he has sat on multiple boards for large and small enterprises. He interviewed for approximately one dozen CEO and board positions. According to him, interviewing for a board position is a highly variable process that has included formal and informal interviews alike, while the CEO hiring process is more predictable.
The Interview Process
In the executive interview case study4, Richard conducted extensive research regarding the company he was applying to. He used published materials to gain information and also talked to past employees to gain insight into business practices. One successful interview he had was for a high-tech company. He knew his recruiter fairly well and was introduced to the chairman. After several conversations, a dinner and a handful of detailed emails, Richard was concerned that the chairman was not willing to make a commitment. However, the recruiter assured him that this was not the case. After a few months, the chairman offered him the position.
In another situation during executive interview case study4, Richard interviewed for a CEO position with a family owned food company valued at $1 billion. The company’s patriarch had recently passed away and told his heir apparent that he was too young to take over. During his interview with outside directors and the heir, the heir was openly hostile. It became apparent that the board was trying to prove that the heir could not do a better job at running the company. After a month with no correspondence, the heir ended up taking the CEO position.
During his interviews, Richard asked the board about its objectives regarding growth, mergers and cultural fit. In return the board asked:
- How much time are you prepared to invest?
- What kind of business connections do you have?
After his executive interview case study4 experiences interviewing with these powerful companies for high-level executive positions, Richard said he would work harder to understand what goes on behind the scenes. He would want to uncover any hidden agenda as well as understand the power dynamics at play. One third of Fortune500 companies are family owned or dominated. This means there is a certain dynamic of family politics at play, which are hard to decipher from an outside position. However, these politics do affect who ultimately gets hired and who does not.
He advised other prospective executives to find out what makes the board of directors tick. Also, figure out who is truly the leader in a group situation. At this high level, politics and allegiances are at play and surviving the interview often involves understanding what is truly going on. You don’t want to fall victim to family politics or fail to identify which individuals are looking for allies. In executive interview case study4, Richard gives tremendous insight into the world of Fortune 500 companies and how to gain employment in key positions.