CEO Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a CEO Do?

A CEO is the highest-ranking executive of a company and oversees all aspects of the company’s operations. A successful CEO must create trust and inspire confidence within the company and with it’s stakeholders.

CEOs are primarily responsible for making high-level decisions regarding policy, strategy, and operations of a company. They work alongside senior stakeholders, chief financial officer, and other senior executives to create and implement operational policies and a strategic plan. 

Becoming a CEO comes with great responsibility. CEOs are expected to build good partnerships with other organizations and help identify any problems or potential opportunities for the company. They help determine values and a mission for their company and create short and long-term plans to accomplish company goals.

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National Average Salary

CEO salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a CEO is:


CEO Job Descriptions

It’s important to include the right content in your job description when hiring a CEO. The following examples can serve as templates for attracting the best available talent for your team.

Example 1

[Your Company Name] is searching for a go-getter CEO who is organized and has X amount of experience. In order for us to maintain our position as one of the top companies in our industry, we must have strong, innovative leadership. We’re searching for a seasoned CEO to take us to the next level. You should be an analytical and solution-oriented leader. You should be gifted with the ability to evaluate and analyze complex information. Of course, you should also have a natural desire to help lead the company to new heights.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • A minimum of ten years of management experience is required
  • Community involvement, public speaking, and public policy experience are strongly preferred 
  • A demonstration of strong business acumen
  • A type of leadership that empowers and enables
  • A solid collaborator and innovator with a knack for finding alternative solutions
  • A focused and calculated leader that has a desire to bring our company to new heights
  • An individual who can balance multiple tasks and play multiple roles effectively

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s (required)
  • Master’s in Business Management (preferred)
  • Executive leadership: 5 years (required)
  • Executive leadership: 10 years (preferred)

Required skills and qualifications

  • Financial and political acumen
  • The ability to link strategy and operational goals to company priorities and fiscal realities
  • An agile but structured leader that can remain nimble without sacrificing a plan’s framework
  • Inspirational leadership skills
  • Unquestionable integrity
  • A commitment to create a culture that never stops driving for improvement
  • Passion and dedication to the company’s mission

Preferred qualifications

  • Master’s in a relevant business degree
  • Demonstrated effective executive leadership: 10 years
  • Experience maintaining and managing budgets
  • Experience with public speaking and community outreach
  • Experience in understanding and prioritizing company goals
  • Experience creating a culture of positive change with passion and commitment

Example 2

Role & responsibilities

  • Own core business operations, including P&L management, growth, legal compliance, and product & team development, to ensure product-market-fit
  • Set and communicate a clear, compelling, and consistent vision
  • Build a world-class team environment and culture while assisting with hiring, training, and other general management
  • Drive fundraising and investor communication
  • Translate research and customer insights into an actionable go-to-market strategy
  • Build relationships within the design and hiring ecosystems
  • Work with product teams to identify the right product experience based on voice-of-customer interviews
  • Assist with identifying, forecasting, and implementing tools/technology to automate business operations

Representative qualifications & prior experience

  • Prior founder or leadership experience at an early-stage company
  • Go-to-market and sales experience for products with developer customers
  • Technical software development expertise
  • Demonstrated experience building operational processes and teams
  • Experience with P&L ownership and management
  • A passion for solving complex problems specific to blockchain technology
  • Experience in a related field such as design, creative services, HR, and technology.

Example 3

The Market Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the senior most executive in a defined geographical market and manages the affairs of the market in addition to having direct responsibility for managing and operating business housed within the market. CEO has responsibility for the management of most aspects of the market’s activities to ensure maximum profits are commensurate with the best interest of customers, shareholders, employees and the public.

How you’ll spend your time

  • You will be responsible for the overall financial performance of the market and manage across all business lines within the market. You will develop, build, and execute a comprehensive global strategic plan for the market
  • As the senior sales manager, you will drive client relationship and prospect opportunities in the market and manage significant client relationships in coordination with the line of business, senior leaders, business units, and product groups.
  • You will actively recruit, retain and develop talent in the market
  • You will be responsible for creating an environment and processes that encourages team based delivery of products and services
  • You will participate in the credit process with credit approval commensurate with assigned market, appealing decisions to Senior Loan Committee as necessary
  • You will exercise initiative, judgment, entrepreneurial enthusiasm, creativity, and tactical skills while serving in the role of key sales and idea generator for the market
  • You will possess a high level of understanding of all bank products and the positioning of such products within the BOKF offering, as well as strong market intelligence
  • You will establish and lead a Market Leadership Team consisting of the most senior representatives and stakeholders across business lines, banking units, and product groups
  • You will serve as the senior executive in the market for all civic and community activities and leverage the title of CEO as appropriate to support the efforts
  • You will fulfill Sarbanes Oxley and other legal and regulatory responsibilities on behalf of the market and established by BOKF

Education & experience requirements

This level of knowledge is normally acquired through completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in a business related field and 15+ years experience in a financial sales management/supervisory capacity in a financial institution, or equivalent experience of 20+ years.

Example 4

Core profile: alignment with this core profile is required

  • Founding team member, sitting c-suite leader, or executive leader ready for c-suite promotion with experience leading a broad scope of software product-related activities. Must have experience and skills structuring the product organization, developing product strategy, refining product vision, influencing product design, directing user research, managing product development, leading product growth, marketing, monetization, and tracking product analytics and metrics
  • Additional must have skills for our next CEO:
    • Entrepreneurial spirit: Skilled in “rolling up sleeves” to get daily work done with and through others. Comfortable taking an action-oriented or hands-on approach to get results faster
    • Software technology experience: Demonstrated experience in a scaling software technology company or business unit, with results in a real start-up, fast-paced, technology enterprise in a senior leadership role
    • Financial acumen: Full P&L ownership, financial planning and cashflow management; displays ability, determination, and follow-through to get desired outcomes from multiple initiatives
    • Customer and product mindset: Skilled in addressing customer opportunity with solutions—uses multiple sources of data to stay abreast of customer procurement challenges/opportunities to match and shape our client’s product solutions and overall roadmap
    • Team management & leadership experience: Strong track record of attracting, retaining, and inspiring talented team members and cross functional teams; servant-leader; recognizes and addresses human capital needs, attracts top talent. Possesses strong EQ/interpersonal skills to build trust open communication
    • Interpersonal communication: High integrity and values working effectively with all levels of all people; possesses strong EQ/interpersonal skills to build trust open communication, buy-in in a way that leads to fast decision making, desired outcomes and a sense of winning for all

Differentiators: these will set you apart in the selection process

  • Procurement function experience or experience supporting procurement function clients. Familiar with hot topics related to procurement, supplier performance, and ESG
  • Broad and diverse network that you can tap into for advice, mentorship, and long-term business development. Bonus if your network includes diversity supplier program and procurement contacts
  • Sales leadership or functional experience showing a track record of growth and revenue generation in B2B software sales. Exposure to best practices with the goal of building and delivering the best possible experiences for users, customers, and subsequent value for the company
  • Venture capital fundraising experience, support SAFE, Series A-D investment rounds. Can anticipate and answer diligence questions from investors and board members

Core accountabilities

  • Works with the board of directors and other executives to establish short-term objectives and long-range goals, and related plans and policies
  • Oversees the ongoing operations of all divisions in the company while managing and directing the company toward its primary goals and objectives
  • Responsible for empowering the product teams to create roadmaps based on customer feedback and based on the overall product strategy. Ensures individual features and products are in line with business objectives and the overarching vision, making adjustments when necessary
  • Presents regular reports on the status of the company’s operations to the board of directors and to company staff
  • Promotes communication and cooperation among divisions to create a spirit of unity in the organization
  • Oversees the organization’s financial structure, ensuring adequate and sound funding for the mission and goals of the company
  • Reviews the financial results of all operations, comparing them with the company’s objectives and taking appropriate measures to correct unsatisfactory performance and results
  • Ensures the company’s compliance with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, and standards
  • Serves as the company’s representative to the board of directors, shareholders, employees, customers, the government, and the public
  • Maintains awareness of the competitive market landscape, expansion opportunities, industry developments, etc.
  • Assesses risks to the company and ensures they are monitored and minimized
  • Oversees employment decisions at the executive level of the company
  • Performs other related duties to benefit the mission of the organization

The qualifications you need

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, business, or a related field is required. MBA or Master’s degree with a technology focus is strongly preferred. Ultimately, quality of experience will be held in a higher regard than academic credentials
  • Typically, 15+ years of total experience and progressive career growth within start-up or highly diverse, scaling technology organizations
  • Minimum of 5, ideally 7 or more, years of experience providing executive leadership, management, and oversight of teams larger than 5 (Direct & Indirect)
  • Full P&L ownership—revenue generation, financial planning, and cashflow management
  • Startup experience, comfortable in a smaller organization, agile and nimble learner who can adapt to circumstances and resources available
  • Skilled at balancing the implementation of necessary business processes while acting with speed in a start-up environment
  • Ability to manage execution of long-term and complex projects by delegating, planning, prioritizing, and optimizing systems
  • Experience identifying, defining, implementing, and monitoring metrics and KPIs related to business function performance and success; tracks data on an ongoing basis and makes objective data-driven decisions
  • Cross-cultural agility to collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders from an extreme diversity of backgrounds
  • Demonstrated experience supporting capital raise activities and an ability to maintain strong relationships with Board of Directors, investors, and other strategic connections from start-up through exit/Monetization

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Full Certified Manager Certification. This is the first step of the 3 tiered system to become certified. Managers seeking to step up into senior executive management and eventually CEO need to foster the drive and ambition necessary to continue moving up. Managers with 3+ years of experience who graduate will obtain the CertM to continue their path upwards.
  • Provisional Certified CEO Certification. For senior executives and newer CEOs attempting to take their careers to the next level, this certification allows for the training and certification necessary to help. Senior executives with 3+ years of senior management experience and CEOs with less than 5 years of experience can obtain this on their journey.
  • Full Certified CEO Certification. Since a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t quite work for such a position, there are separate tiers of designation designed to fit a more tailored description that better fits a candidate’s circumstances. CCEO comes with the right to be called a “certified CEO” and can be achieved after 5+ years of CEO experience. Those who wish to pursue further training and education and stand out from the competition may seek a CCEO certification.
  • Certified Public Accountant. Another, less directly related, certification that many employers require is a CPA. This is a commitment to both serving the public interest, and operating in a code of professional conduct that lends integrity and competence to their decision making.

Sample Interview Questions

  • How has your background and experience prepared you for this position?
  • What makes your leadership style effective and how would you describe it?
  • Would you mind sharing an experience where you had to make a difficult decision and how you handled it?
  • When faced with competing demands and challenges, how do you prioritize and manage them?
  • How do you stay current on industry trends and changes and what steps do you take to stay ahead of the curve?
  • How do you approach risk-taking and decision-making in uncertain circumstances?
  • In what ways do you motivate and engage your team, and what techniques have you found to be most effective?
  • Can you discuss your experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and how you plan to continue promoting these values in the company?
  • Can you describe your experience working with a board of directors and how you plan to effectively communicate and collaborate with them?
  • What is your plan to measure and communicate the company’s success to stakeholders?

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