3 Interview Questions to Ask Chief Growth Officer (CGO) Candidates

A C-suite interview has a much different dynamic than a standard mid-level management interview. The stakes are higher because the candidate being interviewed will be a critical leader in the company and this person must share the hiring organization’s goals and vision. A Chief Growth Officer (CGO) should possess the knowledge necessary to drive revenue, reputation, and business growth. Therefore, the interviewer will need to ask the right questions that require the executive candidate to reflect on the past, focus on the present, and envision the future to demonstrate his or her level of competency, skills, strategy, and passion. The interview is also the opportune time to assess leadership skills and communication style. To help find a good fit, we have compiled a list of interview questions targeted specifically to a CGO position. 

The Role of CGO

The CGO is responsible for managing an organization’s revenue, market fit, and customer growth. Focusing on external market dynamics, customer needs, and overall buyer behavior, a CGO oversees the marketing, sales, business development, and purchasing departments to foster a customer-centric internal alignment. After monitoring product development activities, the CGO makes sure all marketing activities are driven by a specified value proposition that continues throughout the entire sales process to create a seamless customer experience. A CGO can assist a company cut through the red tape often found between departments and direct drivers to one skilled, innovative professional that is solely focused on overall growth.

1. How does your current company cultivate a workplace culture that’s open to innovation?

To foster organizational growth, a CGO must be able to make bold decisions. This requires a corporate culture open to innovation. Does the executive candidate’s current company foster thinking outside the box? Are employees encouraged to voice less-than-fully formed solutions? You are looking for a leader who’s a conceptual thinker with ideas that are not bound by the typical restraints that often hinder others. Listen for words or phrases like brainstorming, global, vision, cutting edge, and big picture.

2. What strategies do you use to understand your customers and market fit?

To successfully meet your customer’s needs, a CGO must possess the ability to find innovative ways to glean insights into the future to know where your industry is headed to stay ahead of emerging trends. A CGO must keep the customer at the center of all business activities—which requires the ability to listen and understand customer needs and foster trust. Building on this, the CGO must then determine whether the business can meet these needs. If the answer is no, the CGO must adjust strategies accordingly. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, organizations focused on customer experience and satisfaction will emerge as industry leaders. Listen for signs that the CGO candidate is willing to do whatever it takes to deliver products and services that meet and exceed customer expectations.

3. What strategies do you use to drive growth?

Growth doesn’t come from maintaining the status quo. In today’s marketplace, successful growth requires a long-term vision that serves as the foundation of a company-wide strategy. To uncover changing customer attitudes and needs, a CGO must analyze and understand market trends to determine if there’s a need for new product development. Using this information, the CGO must then devise strategies to improve the company’s product or service to create opportunities for growth in the marketplace through customer acquisition—while ensuring long-term retention. Ask the candidate open-ended follow-up questions to get a firm understanding of his or her strategy and philosophy on organizational growth. You want to leave the interview with a clear picture of how the candidate would grow your product or service.

Summary

During the interview, it’s important to ask questions that help you access the candidate’s ability to take your organization to the next level. The decisions made by Chief Growth Officer will drive organizational growth through deliberate and strategic efforts. A great CGO knows how to discover, develop, and implement advanced growth initiatives—aimed at driving revenue and business growth—to maintain organizational success.    

This blog was written by Viaduct Managing Director Peter Petrella.

Another valuable resource: Adopt These 4 Components of Effective Leadership for a Successful New Year, by our partner TalentRise.

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