Savvy executives know that interview questions like, “What’s your biggest strength?” and, “What’s your biggest weakness?” aren’t as telling as they seem.
That’s why they steer clear of these cliché queries and instead ask more meaningful ones.
Many of the most successful execs have their one favorite go-to question that reveals everything they need to know about a job candidate.
Here are 28 of them.
‘What didn’t you get a chance to include on your résumé?’
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson explains in his new book “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership,” that he isn’t a fan of the traditional job interview, reports Business Insider’s Richard Feloni.
“Obviously a good CV is important, but if you were going to hire by what they say about themselves on paper, you wouldn’t need to waste time on an interview,” Branson writes. That’s why he likes to ask: What didn’t you get a chance to include on your résumé?
‘On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?’
One of Zappos’ core values is to “create fun and a little weirdness,” Tony Hsieh, CEO of the company, tells Business Insider.
To make sure he hires candidates with the right fit, Hsieh typically asks the question: “On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?” He says the number isn’t too important, but it’s more about how people answer the question. Nonetheless, if “you’re a one, you probably are a little bit too straight-laced for the Zappos culture,” he says. “If you’re a 10, you might be too psychotic for us.”
Another question Zappos usually asks candidates is: “On a scale of one to 10, how lucky are you in life?” Again, the number doesn’t matter too much, but if you’re a one, you don’t know why bad things happen to you (and probably blame others a lot). And if you’re a 10, you don’t understand why good things always seem to happen to you (and probably lack confidence).
‘What would the closest person in your life say if I asked them, ‘What is the one characteristic that they totally dig about you, and the one that drives them insane?”
Kat Cole, group president of FOCUS Brands, tells Adam Bryant in a New York Times interview that before asking questions, she likes to see how job candidates interact with people in the waiting area.
“I’ll ask people to offer the candidate a drink to see if there’s a general gratefulness there, and they’ll send me notes,” she tells Bryant. “Then, when someone walks into my office, I’ll have a big wad of paper on my floor between the door and the table. I want to see if the person picks it up. I don’t make huge judgments around it, but it does give me a sense of how detail-oriented they are.”
After some conversation, she finally says: “Tell me about the closest person in your life who you’re comfortable talking about. What would they say if I asked them, ‘What is the one characteristic that they totally dig about you?'”
Then she’ll say: “What is the one characteristic that drives them insane, and that they would love for you to do just a little bit less?”
“People are pretty comfortable talking about that because I’ve pinpointed a person and a point of view,” she tells the Times.