A Chief Executive Officer is one of the most demanding but desirable positions in any company. Primary responsibilities include making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company and being the public face of the brand. Due to the seniority of the role, a C-suite interview takes on a different dynamic to a mid-level management interview.
Europe has seen a handful of new FinTech CEO hires recently; digital bank Monzo appointed Carol Nelson as its CEO for US operations and payments processing firm Mollie selected Shane Happach as new CEO to support international expansion.
But how do candidates prepare for a FinTech CEO interview? We have put together a guide that offers our expert advice as specialist FinTech consultants on what to expect in your interview and the possible questions you could be asked.
How To Prepare For A Chief Executive Officer Interview
A C-suite interview requires candidates to promote their leadership style and personal brand while portraying industry knowledge, skill, insight, and experience.
Understanding the position is the first protocol – review the role and responsibilities and ensure you align with the company’s mission, vision, values and goals. Have a clear understanding of how the organization sees the role at present and in the future and why they are looking to appoint a new CEO.
Unquestionably, do your research. Consult the FinTech’s website, overseeing the ‘about’ or ‘who we are’ sections and review strategic plans, annual reports, fact sheets, news coverage, funding and leadership profiles. Research current and emerging trends and be prepared to relate them to the FinTech’s financial and operational needs. Talk amongst your extensive network with industry leaders in similar positions within the digital financial services market, asking about their personal experience and any advice they have.
C-Suite candidates will typically be asked to provide 4-6 references. Make sure these references are trusted, respected and relevant as they provide a 360-degree view of your personality, character, job performance and leadership style.
5 Of The Most Asked CEO Interview Questions
Besides the general and behavioural interview questions, many FinTech CEO candidates will be asked questions specific to the role. Questions can cover topics ranging from company strategy and growth, leadership style, cultural fit and managing failure, such as:
How do you see the company changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
FinTech leaders need to be adaptable and able to plan for the future. Prepare to answer about changes you anticipate and how you see yourself facilitating that change.
If you were hired, what would your priorities be in the first 90 days?
The FinTech landscape is constantly changing, therefore you need to be ready to make an immediate impact and prepare to hit the ground running from the get-go. Specify your focus, set your top priorities and determine how you will measure success.
What serves as a guiding principle in your life and how does that integrate with the FinTech’s vision, mission and values?
The company needs to understand your values to see whether they align to preserve the company culture. Your answer should convey your personality, core values and attitude, determining what ‘cultural add’ you can bring as a leader.
How would you lead the organization to view and respond to failure?
Everyone has encountered failure at some point in their career. Use past experiences as a starting point to answer honestly, pitching as a ‘lesson learnt’. This tests your integrity and boldness to provide a clear understanding of your decision making and resilience.
What other CEOs do you look up to?
An individual’s idol says a lot about who they are and aspire to be like, conveying the management and leadership style they emulate as a leader themselves.
At the end of the interview, be prepared to ask questions to show you are interested and engaged. Digging deeper conveys you have done your research and will reveal more about your character.
When Should A FinTech Hire A CEO?
One of the biggest decisions a FinTech will make is hiring a CEO. Some appoint at the beginning of launch whilst others hire once the company has already been established.
Despite thinking of a concept that is worth millions, a Founder doesn’t always have (or want) the necessary skills to undertake other activities such as running the operations or launching into new markets. As the business grows, Founders may shift their focus to other areas of the business, requiring the support of specialist or more experienced individuals; this is where a CEO steps in.
Whether you are a C-Suite candidate looking for your next role in a growing FinTech company, or a Founder looking to hire a CEO for your startup, get in touch. Our FinTech executive recruiters can advise you on the process and connect you with their network of highly skilled FinTech talent.