Interview Questions to Ask a Chief of Staff Candidate

List of Interview Questions to Ask a Chief of Staff Candidate

Interviews are the single most important candidate selection tool after the application and/or resume. When you’re interviewing for high-level positions in your human resources department like Chief of Staff, it’s important to be able to assess all candidates using the same data (or scoring). This is where structured interviews come in. In a structured interview, questions are determined in advance and consistent. All candidates should have the opportunity to answer the same questions and be allotted the same amount of time so you can evaluate them based on standard criteria.

Based on the qualifications you’re looking for, your Chief of Staff interview questions should be structured so that candidates may provide specific information that will distinguish them from the other candidates you’re interviewing for the position. Asking the right questions during the interview is crucial to selecting the right candidates to hire.

The Chief of Staff is always a salaried position. Depending on the size of the organization, the Chief of Staff is an executive manager who works under the immediate supervision of the highest management at a company — typically under a chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), or senior vice president. They work directly with high-level executives, attend meetings with department managers, coordinate various areas of the business, and generally help to implement the visions of senior executives within the rest of the company. The Chief of Staff attends board meetings and provides progress reports for the board on execution of company initiatives and works directly with the senior leader to which they are assigned, receives direction from that company officer, and is expected to carry forward and implement that direction. This is an exempt level position and often a key decision maker at the company. 

How to Interview and Select a Chief of Staff

The Chief of Staff is always a salaried position. Depending on the size of the organization, the Chief of Staff is an executive manager who works under the immediate supervision of the highest management at a company — typically under a chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), or senior vice president. They work directly with high-level executives, attend meetings with department managers, coordinate various areas of the business, and generally help to implement the visions of senior executives within the rest of the company. This is an exempt level position and often a key decision maker at the company. 

chief of staff salary range

Chief of Staff Interview Questions 

1) What are some long-range objectives that you developed in your last job? What did you do to achieve them?

2) Tell us about how you have successfully impacted your company’s high-level goals?

3) As chief of staff, what was your role in the strategic planning process?

4) When managing cross-departmental projects, how do you ensure proper communication?

5) Describe how you like to be managed, and the best relationship you’ve had with a previous boss.

6) How would you handle disagreements with the office of the CEO?

7) Tell us about a time when your advice to your executive team led to an improvement in your company or otherwise helped your employer.

8) In your current (or most recent) role, what kinds of problems do you help solve on a daily basis? 

9) Did you enact any changes at your last company you felt especially proud of?

10) After learning about this opportunity, what made you take the next step and apply for the job?

11) Has your perception of this opportunity changed based on our interview?

Once the interviews for the job are completed, it’s up to you and your team to decide on which of your top prospects is the one that you are going to offer the job. The key when interviewing and selecting Chief of Staff candidates is to be sure of the job requirements and most important skills and abilities to ensure you are selecting the most qualified and capable person for the human resources assistant job you have an opening for.

Grab our downloadable Recruiter Interview Guide along with a handful of other helpful human resources interview questions guides to help staff up your HR team.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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