Thursday, December 13, 2007

CEO Level Interviews

Today, I came across the ET Corporate Dossier of 30 March 2007 having the the topic of CEO level interviews.

He said CEO candidate should possess and position the following aspects.

Successful past experiences that are relevant for the company. So the person has to carry out the homework to ascertain the deliverables of new role.

The candidate must have strategic, intellectual and operational abilities. On a strategic level, awareness of international trends, competitor moves, product portfolio, cost structures in the industry is required. On the operational side, past instances of execution excellence of various strategies of the organizatino led by the candidate need to be highlighted.

Interest, excitement and passion to display and demonstrate energy required in the new terrain/environment he is seeking to enter needs to made visible. A candidate who speaks and thinks only of past and not of future may be considered to be pateauing.

Coming to the international scene, americans prefer aggressive, front ended, highly articulate, energetic, and team playing skills apart from industry knowledge and management expertise.

Europeans prefer systems oriented and complaint persons who are willing to follow standardised code of conduct.


There is an interview guide for CEO's position prepared by IOWA hospital association. The guide is available on internet at

The interview question schedules may be useful to think of possible questions at the interviews at CEO level.


1. Describe your experience in the health care field.
􀀹 Tell us about yourself—how do you feel about yourself?
􀀹 What jobs have you had? Why did you leave?
􀀹 Why do you want to work for our hospital?
􀀹 Describe your vision of health care delivery and the role this
hospital would have.
􀀹 Describe your strengths and weaknesses.
􀀹 How do you deal with areas where you are not as strong?
􀀹 What were the three most important decisions of your life?
􀀹 What books have you read in the past six months?

2. Number of years in senior management positions in:
􀀹 Hospital Administration _________
􀀹 Skilled nursing and
nursing home administration _________
􀀹 Home health care _________
􀀹 Physician clinic _________
􀀹 Other (explain) _________

3. Describe your academic preparation—college—graduate and
continuing education.
􀀹 How does your education and continuing education relate to our

4. What experience, if any, have you had in the areas of
􀀹 mental health
􀀹 substance abuse
􀀹 critical access hospitals
􀀹 hospice

5. What has been your experience in a competitive health care
environment, specifically in developing strategies and activities that

6. How do you balance health care access, quality and cost?

7. Do you have a specific reason for leaving your present employment
apart from this present opportunity? Please explain if your answer is

8. In terms of your next career move, what are you looking for and how
would these objectives be met by the position of chief executive
officer of ___________________ hospital and its related organizations?

Community Relations—Marketing

1. What do you consider to be the most important communication skills
necessary for this position?
2. Illustrate that you understand marketing and can affectively promote
services and programs.
3. What do you consider your most successful public relations
4. What do you consider your strong points in negotiating tactics and
strategies when dealing with individual physicians and secondly, in
dealing with the medical staff as a group?
5. How effective have you been at recruiting physicians?
6. What kind of background check do you conduct in addition to the
usual references? In your experience, how reliable are references?
7. Do you have any experience in fund development?
8. How have you helped develop a strong image of your hospital and/or
clinic in the community?
9. How do you keep abreast of trends and issues in the health care
10. What is your role in political advocacy at the local, state and federal
11. Public hospitals in Iowa (municipal, county and state) operate under
an OPEN MEETINGS LAW which means that any time a quorum or
more is gathered the press can be present. How do you see yourself
effectively processing sensitive issues? (Please note, there are some
exceptions to this law dealing with legally protected


1. What has been your role in:
􀀹 Budget preparation?
􀀹 Budget performance?
􀀹 Handling budget variances?
2. How well do you understand various Iowa hospital payment systems
(e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield)
3. List one or two specific examples of programs or services which you
have implemented that have or will produce additional revenue.
4. What has been your experience in dealing, negotiating or contracting
with an HMO, PPO, insurance company or other risk assumption
5. What experience have you had in reorganizing staff to meet:
􀀹 A reduced occupancy in the hospital?
􀀹 Reduced demand for physician services in a clinic?
6. What experience have you had in addressing various compliance and
regulatory issues and requirements (e.g., HIPAA)?

Management Skills

1. Are you a leader or a follower? Give an example.
2. How would you describe or characterize your management style?
3. How would your present employer or board chair evaluate your
4. Describe your three or four major accomplishments during the past
5. Describe a past management decision that wasn’t successful? Why
wasn’t it successful? How would you deal with it differently today?
6. What specific management strengths would you bring to our
7. What traits or skills do you look for in recruiting and hiring the
people that work directly with you?
8. What has been the greatest challenge facing your present hospital?
9. What do you believe will be your greatest challenge at our hospital?
10. How would you rate your effectiveness in dealing with upper level
associates in management?
11. How do you keep subordinates informed about decisions important
to their performance?
12. How well do you work under pressure or in an emergency? Can you
give an example?
13. How have decisions been made in organizations in which you have
held the position of chief executive?
14. How good are you at conflict resolution? In brief, describe the
process you have employed or may have to employ in the future.
15. Do you use the setting of goals and objectives and their attainment in
your management practice?
16. What has been your specific role in developing and implementing
strategic planning?
17. How good are you at delegating authority? Do you exact strict
accountability attendant to the authority you have delegated?
18. As chief executive officer, do you see yourself as being responsible
for the development of management skills and mentoring your upper
level management staff?
19. How important do you see creativity and innovation in guiding the
destiny of your organization?
20. How do you define the role of the board of trustees of a not-for-profit
21. What is your experience and style in working with a board of trustees
22. What are your two greatest strengths in working with a board?
23. What customer service and employee satisfaction initiatives have
you initiated in prior positions? What is your view regarding
employee satisfaction and customer service?
24. From your review of this hospital, what are the issues and challenges
this hospital faces?

Health System Development

1. What new programs have you created? Explain their development.
2. How do you see leadership of hospitals/clinics positioning their
organizations in the future?
3. What is your present view of developing affiliations with larger
organizations? What do you see as benefits or detriments inherent in
such affiliations?
4. What experience have you had in the development and operation of a
local integrated health care system?
5. How do you see the hospital of tomorrow continuing to be the focal
point of health care delivery in its community?

Community Involvement

1. Describe your community activities and hobbies.
2. To what extent do you see yourself involved in community
3. Will you live in our community?
4. In your opinion, what would make _______________, Iowa, a
satisfactory environment for your spouse and children?

Concluding Questions

1. Where do you hope to be in five years? What is your career goal?
2. What would you like to ask us?
3. Ask for references if they have not been provided.
4. What is your earliest date of availability?

I came across this reference that supports Suresh's ideas.

The above document is from this book

From the book Search: Winning Strategies to Get Your
Next Job in the Nonprofit World.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Larry Slesinger.
Available at

The important points covered are:

Doing Well in the Interview

At the strategic level:

1. Connect your past to the interviewer’s future.
2. Be concise when answering questions.
3. Know the organization before you sit down.
4. Bring three questions.
5. Be animated in the interview.

. . .and at the tactical level:

1. Arrive 15 minutes early.
2. Stop by a mirror to check your appearance.
3. Accept a glass of water even if you’re not thirsty.
4. Turn off your cell phone
Develop yourself into CEO Material

Important points from

Below are the main criteria given by Beverly Lieberman, President of Halbrecht Lieberman Associates, Inc. (, an internationally recognized executive search firm, to focus on by upcoming company leaders to fine-tune themselves if they want to be considered for the top positions. Determine which areas you need to work on. By focusing on the areas, you greatly increase your chances of attaining your professional goals.

A solid business track record that would make others take notice?

Traditionally, hiring companies want people who are considered "best of breed" in their sector. They tend to look for the best business people who have helped turn around a faltering company or who have developed a winning business strategy that has resulted in major revenue growth and profitability.

Candidates are expected to have recently been in a leadership role with substantial operating experience, including P & L responsibility. The executive of choice is someone who would be viewed as directly contributing to his/her company's stock growth.

Critically analyze your business accomplishments. If you seem to be lacking anything noteworthy, you need to develop the track record in your current position before seeking a move upward.

Specific credentials hiring companies are looking for:

Most successful CEO candidates have backgrounds that include serving as CFO (Chief Financial Officer) or CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) for a similar organization.

These previous positions give them a mixture of line and operating experience.
Additionally, their backgrounds include an average of 20-25 years experience with at least 10 years in substantial management roles. More than 50% have an MBA degree and are involved in various industry, trade, and professional associations. Many are involved in community activities as well.

These individuals are first and foremost leaders - people whom others tend to want to follow.

They are generally risk-takers and willing to relocate for their next assignment.

International experience

Having a business stint outside the United States is very important for top executives who want to move up the corporate ladder. Most companies expect their CEOs and COOs to have had considerable international experience.

If three to five years of international experience are not on your resume, investigate opportunities that can take you abroad. This is one important yet overlooked qualification that can help you advance your career.

Top-notch interpersonal skills

In today's business environment, there is an increasing emphasis on communication skills - everything from the ability to persuade others to the ability to send and receive clear messages throughout the organization.

In fact, one of the most important ingredients for up-and-coming CEOs is their ability to develop strong interpersonal relationships.

The skill of working with people and gaining their trust and confidence is vital.

In addition, knowing how to manage upward and laterally are as important as knowing how to manage your staff.

How well tuned are your interpersonal skills? Do you find that others relate well to you, or do you constantly struggle to get your point across?

To gain additional skill with interpersonal communication, some savvy executives utilize professional coaches. Many have attended courses and seminars in personal development. If this is one area that troubles you, perhaps attending a Dale Carnegie should be your top priority.

Do you look like a company leader?

Executives today are expected to be tuned into their physical and psychological health. Because they are considered role models in their organization, they must be able to present a positive image to their staff and to the public. That's why it's common for companies to hire executives who appear fit and who have "executive bearing."

Top executives are often involved in a regular fitness program. Jogging, golfing, playing tennis, and having a membership in a health club are the norm.

Closely examine how you portray yourself to others. Do you continually look tired and out of shape?

If not, make your health a priority so you can physically and emotionally handle the stresses that come with leading a company. Remember, the company's health is only as good as its leader's.

Becoming a company President or Chief Executive Officer requires a critical balance of both professional and personal skills and attributes.

Take the time to polish your skills and image today. Doing so will give you the competitive edge you need to reach your professional goal.

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