Key Questions You Should Ask

Before You Start an Executive Search 

Executive Leadership Changes Icon pngThere are many key questions that need to be answered prior to commencing a search. These are some high-level discussion questions we would have with the CEO and other individual board members.

Chess Magnifying Executive Strategy png 

Helpful Documents You Can Provide Us

Public companies disclose some of the information we need in their filings. However, if we are dealing with specific divisions of public companies, some of the information that is relevant is not in enough detail in the public disclosures. The following is a list of information we would like to see to help us identify the best candidate for your organization.  Remember to always mark confidential documents as such.

  • Financial Analyst Industry Overview
  • Financial Analyst Opinions on the Company/ Stock
  • Analyst Opinion, such as Gartner, Forrester, IDC & others.
  • Strategy presentations: short and long term
  • Investor Presentations
  • Customer Presentations
  • Organization charts & people stats
  • Cap table / preferences
  • Amount of capital raised/ invested


Key Questions -  The Company/ Division

Here are some high-level questions. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a more detailed list of general questions and company questions specific to functional roles. 

  • General Company Performance: Strategy (short and long term), company values, market opportunity, competitors, differentiators, financial objectives, goals & KPIs, key market segments. 
  • Financial Projections: 3 to 5 year projections; revenue mix, existing/new customers, product/services/ maintenance mix, organic vs. M&A, and by geography; major growth drivers and prospects.
  • Capital Structure: capital requirements; capitalization; investments to date.
  • Competitive landscape within each market segment.
  • Marketing, Sales, and Distribution: domestic/ international; by product/service; marketing opportunities and programs; major customers; sales pipeline; avenues for generating business.
  • Product Development Roadmap & Patents 
  • Company Culture 
  • Compensation Plan
  • People: organizational structure, bios (if not available), numbers by function, attrition, tenure, key leaders.


Key Questions - The Position

  • Genesis of position: new role? who are we replacing and why?
  • Main Objectives
  • Responsibilities 
  • Key pain points for this individual to address
  • Organization: who does the role report to? Who are the direct reports? Organization chart
  • Budget size; number of people
  • Critical Deliverables: 30-60-90 days
  • Compensation Discussion: structure, objectives, and expectations


Key Questions - The Person

For functional searches in CEO, COO, GM, Sales, Marketing, Product Management, and Product Development, email us for detailed questions on the functional organization and role definition. 

  • What is the desired background of this individual?
  • Industry Background
  • Companies you admire?
  • Functional Background
  • What are the necessary skills and experiences? What are nice to have?
  • What are the main issues/ pain points moving forward?
  • Seniority Discussion
  • Who fits well within this organization? What are your hiring criteria?
  • Do you know of any prototypical candidates, even if not available?
  • Who would your ideal candidate be?


Additional Resources

Contact us for additional questions & resources: 

  • More detailed questions on the company, the position and the person
  • Functional Charts for specific roles: CEO vs. Chairman; CEO vs. President/COO; Technology Products function. 
  • Questions for Specific Roles: Technology function; cybersecurity & infrastructure; sales and marketing 
  • Sample Position Specifications 

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