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Executive Director Interview Questions


  • Welcome and round of introductions
  • Brief organizational history, mission, etc
  • Org structure, ED/AD leadership team
  • Overview of job: describe priorities of position based on percentages.

Skills and Experience

1. What about this position and our Chorus mission interests you?

2. Which of the fundraising and fund development responsibilities in the job description do you have the most experience? The least? Describe how you have approached the fundraising area.

3. Marketing has changed dramatically in the past 5 years. Describe your experience and strategy integrating social media. What strategies would you use in designing a PR plan for the Chorus?

4. Describe your experience with financial statements, reporting and budgets. In what context have you used Excel? Quickbooks? Trailblazer or another database?

5. Give us an example of how you have developed a successful relationship between yourself and the Board?

6. How do you evaluate the effectiveness of a non-profit organization and worked at developing and executing a strategic plan?

7. How have you partnered with others outside your organization to advance a common cause or an internal project? Who would you partner with here in XXX?

Supervision and Inter-personal Relationships

8. What are your strengths in engaging others? What do you believe is key to employee/volunteer engagement and retention? Share a story about how you’ve engaged employees and volunteers?

9. What experience do you have managing paid employees, including coaching and conducting performance reviews? How about un-paid volunteers?

10. How have you balanced offering strong leadership while working with a staff team? In particular, how do you manage the relationship with the Artistic Director?

11. Have you ever had to implement a change that others did not understand or support? Tell us about that. What was the outcome? What did you learn?

12. Can you describe a 'difficult' relationship or partnership (e.g., funder, internal/external partner) that you were able to turn into a rewarding one?

13. Tell me about a confrontation that you've had with a board member. What was the situation, and how did you handle it? How did it turn out?

14. Describe your experience working with diverse populations… and flexibility in working with a diverse group of volunteers and personalities. Prompt for GLBT connections if they don’t go there.

Work Style

15. What are the many priorities and stakeholders you currently juggle at work? How do you balance these different demands – what strategy do you use? How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance and minimize stress?

16. Briefly describe the most significant responsibility you have in your current position and what it has taught you?

17. What type of decisions do you make in your current position? In particular, what decisions are easiest for you to make and which ones are the most difficult? Why?

18. In looking at the job description, which areas are you most comfortable and which area are you least experienced. For the elements of the position that you have limited experience, describe how would you go about getting that experience or what resources would you use?

19. What would you identify as the primary challenges of this ED position?

20. What kind of work environment and culture gives you the most energy and excitement?

Answer questions - What questions do you have at this time, either about the Chorus, or about this position (we have x minutes left)?


What uniquely qualifies you for this position, and what do you want us to remember when we consider you along with our other applicants?

Outline timeline and next steps in the hiring process.

We plan to call candidates back for a second interview next week. Candidates coming for the second interview will be asked to provide a writing sample and prepare a mini development strategic plan for the Chorus.

Calling References:

Use the reference release form for each candidate. If this person left your organization would you hire them back?