How to Hire a CEO for Your Company

1 year ago •

How to Hire a CEO for Your Company

Hiring a chief executive officer (CEO) is an important decision for any company, as a CEO is responsible for leading the organisation and creating a strategy for success. With the right CEO, a company can thrive, innovate and grow. However, the wrong CEO can lead the business down the wrong path, make poor choices and seriously impact the progress of the company. To ensure you find the best candidate for the job, it’s important to take the time to research, interview, and evaluate potential candidates.

Plan Ahead

The first step is something that should really happen long before you require a new CEO - planning ahead for a successor CEO. Almost all large companies will have contingency plans for the succession of a former CEO, and there’s a very good reason for that. If something unexpected happens and your business loses a CEO, having a competent successor CEO available to take the reins will help steady the ship and keep stakeholders calm. In contrast, no succession plan could potentially scare off investors, cause stock values to drop and negatively impact the business as a whole.

It’s not uncommon for CEOs to leave their post abruptly, which can leave businesses without leadership for 75 days on average. This gap in leadership can have dramatic effects on a business, and it makes the transition much harder for the new CEO. So it’s vital that you plan ahead and have plans in place for a CEO successor to keep your business stable.

Develop a Job Description

The first step in the hiring process is to create a job description. This should include the duties and responsibilities of the position, as well as the qualifications and experience the ideal candidate should possess. It’s important to be as specific as possible to ensure you’re attracting the right type of person.

When creating a job description for the role, it’s helpful to create a list of things you want and things you don’t want from candidates. For the transition to be as successful as possible, your team should have a clear idea about what they need from a CEO, as well as things that you want to avoid.

The individual candidates you eventually speak to will have different ideas about where to take the business. So to effectively vet candidates and find the right ones, ensure you have a comprehensive job description incorporating the key elements you need from the new CEO.

Research Potential Candidates

Once you have a job description, it’s time to start researching potential candidates. Look for people who have experience in roles similar to the one you’re hiring for, as well as those who have experience leading other organisations. There are a few different ways to source these candidates, such as:

  • Using professional contacts: If you have a robust network of professionals to reach out to, you can ask them if they know of anyone capable of handling the role of CEO.
  • Forming a search committee: It’s useful to create a team of high-level staff that understand the business and help find the right CEO candidates. They can use their own networks of industry contacts to find potential candidates that align with the needs and values of the company.
  • Consider external recruitment firms: Bringing in executive search consultants from external agencies is a good way to find top CEO talent.
  • Post job advertisements online: Even though a CEO is an executive role in any company, sourcing candidates online is still an effective approach. You’ll need to be quite diligent when it comes to the interview process with these candidates, though.

Conduct Interviews

Once you’ve identified some potential candidates, it’s time to start interviewing them. During the interview, ask questions to get a better understanding of their qualifications and experience, as well as their leadership style and vision for the company. It’s also important to get a sense of the candidate’s values and how they align with the company’s culture. Draft some interview questions in advance to help glean insights from the candidates' responses. You’ll be able to learn about their personality and suitability for the role this way and the draft questions will help you compare candidates more effectively.

There are other ways that you can assess candidates outside of traditional interviews. These unorthodox approaches can help you dig a little deeper to find whether or not the candidate in question is a suitable fit for the CEO role.

Evaluate Candidates

Once you’ve interviewed the candidates, it’s time to evaluate them. Consider their qualifications, experience, and leadership style, as well as how well they’d fit into the company’s culture. You should also consider their references and any other information you have about them.

Make a Decision

After you’ve evaluated the candidates, it’s time to make a decision. Your choice should be based on the criteria you set out in the job description and the evaluation of the candidates. Once you’ve made your decision, it’s important to make sure the chosen candidate is the right fit for the position and the company.

Onboard the CEO

Now that you've chosen the right candidate, it’s time to onboard them. This process should include familiarising the new CEO with the company’s culture, values, and goals, as well as introducing them to the team and providing them with the resources they need to succeed.


Hiring a CEO is a big decision for any company. To ensure you make the right choice, it’s important to take the time to develop a job description, research potential candidates, conduct interviews, evaluate candidates, and make a decision. Once you’ve chosen the right candidate, it’s important to onboard them properly to ensure they’re successful in the role.

Our team at CNA International is dedicated to offering top-level services on an international level to help clients source and place the best candidates for jobs. We work across a huge spectrum of industries, sectors and senior positions. If you’d like to know more about what we do, or if you’d like us to help your business or career, then contact us today.



E:  |  T: +44 (0) 1676 822 222  |  W: 



























Related Articles