Preferred questions from executives during job interviews

executive search consultants recruiters

Rachel Gillet and Aine Cain, are two career specialist journalists who reveal for Business Insider the preferred questions of executives during job interviews.

Most of the successful people have made job interviews a proven technique. They do not usually waste their time on trivial issues. In fact, they often have a favorite question they like to ask. It reveals exactly what they want to know about the candidate.

Here are 12 of these questions.

What did you choose not to include in your CV?

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson explains in his latest book The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership that he is not a fan of traditional job interviews.

“Obviously a good CV is important. However, if you choose a candidate on the basis of his or her CV, the interview is no longer necessary. So that’s why he likes to ask the following question: what did you choose not to include in your resume?

Are you the smartest person you know?

As Dartmouth College professor Sydney Finkelstein describes in his latest book Superbosses, Oracle’s president, Larry Ellison makes it a point of honour to hire only very talented and extremely intelligent employees. He asks his trainers to ask this question to new graduates during job interviews.

If the candidate answers “yes”, he or she will be hired. If he answers “no”, the recruiter will ask him “Who is he? “in order to hire this person rather than the candidate in front of him.

According to S. Finkelstein, “superstars” like Ellison are so confident in their own abilities that they are not afraid of being overshadowed by an employee. On the contrary, they seek to hire people who are smarter than themselves, because they know that these people will challenge him to find better ideas and better solutions to problems.

You are standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk one kilometer south, one kilometer west and one kilometer north. You find yourself exactly where you started.

Where are you? Where are you?

According to biography Elon Musk Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX likes to give candidates this puzzle to test their intelligence.

There are a multitude of correct answers and one of them is the North Pole.

On your best day at work – the day you go home and think you have the best job in the world – what did you do that day?

Miranda Kalinowski, Global Head of Recruitment at Facebook, explains how the social network recruited the best talent. She asks this question to help her find the right candidates for the job.

They are looking to find out what really interests the candidate and whether this interest could have “matched” with what Facebook was looking for.

They also hope to see if the candidate’s values match Facebook’s missions “to empower people to share and make the world more open and connected.

What was the last disguise you wore?

The choice of disguise is of little importance to the executive recruiter. On the other hand, he is interested in why the candidates chose this costume. If the candidate’s reasoning matches Warby Parker’s fundamental value of injecting “fun and weird into work, life and everything we do”, he has a real chance of getting the job.

“We find that people who are able to create a fun environment around their work find it easier to connect,” says the company’s co-founder and Co-CEO, David Gilboa. “If we hire the best qualified person in the world, but with a work style that does not match the spirit of the company, it will be a failure.

Give me an example where you solved an analytically difficult problem.

Laszlo Bock, former HR Director at Google, says the company has abandoned its famous puzzle during job interviews for more behavioral interviews.

“The interesting thing about behavioral interviews is that when you ask someone to talk about their experience, you have two kinds of information,” he reports to the New York Times. “You see first how he reacts to a real world situation. Then you understand what the candidate considers to be a difficult context.”

Tell me about your background

Melanie Whelan, CEO of SoulCycle, a fitness company based in New York, always begins interviews with the question “tell me about your career path”

“It’s a good way to start a conversation and it really helps me to understand how the candidate communicates. Is it linear, concise or direct? Is he a bullshitter? Is he trained? Does he find a way out?

If you were an animal, which one would you be?

“The animal kingdom is vast and everyone can identify with an animal that they think they embody by its personality or characteristics,” says Stormy Simon, President of Overstock.

The right answers are those where the candidate chooses an animal whose traits he sincerely believes he has the same traits, which makes him different from the others. “People often choose the same animal as other candidates, but the traits they describe later are never the same. But not all of them are good answers.

“One day, a candidate replied that she identified herself as a red panda, because everyone thinks she is a cute and docile animal, but the real reason was that she is lazy. We hired the candidate despite her answer, but we separated in less than three weeks. It’s just to show the importance of the issue.

HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes also likes to ask candidates “what is your spiritual animal?

He says, “During his interview, I asked my current executive assistant what her favorite animal was. She told me it was the duck, because ducks are calm on the surface, but do crazy things inside.

“I thought it was an incredible answer and a perfect description for the position of Executive Assistant. For the record, she has been working with us for a year now and is doing a remarkable job,” concludes Holmes.

Tell me something true that almost no one agrees with you.

Paypal’s co-founder, Peter Thiel, is always looking to hire people who are not afraid to defend their opinions. To do this, he always asks candidates “tell me something true that almost no one agrees with you”.

For P. Thiel, the reason why he likes this question is as follows: “This question classifies them by originality of thinking, and to a certain extent, it places them by their courage to speak at an interview in a difficult context”.

How would you describe yourself in a word?

The best candidates are those who know exactly who they are. That is why Dara Richardson-Heron, CEO of the feminist organization YWCA, always asks this question to candidates.

Richardson-Heron says she does not judge candidates by the word they choose. Their choice just gives him a glimpse of how candidates qualify. She likes it when people take time to think about the question and answer it carefully.

What do you want to be when you grow up

Stewart Butterfield, Flickr’s co-founder and Slack’s Executive Director, likes to ask candidates this question that we had to answer our teachers and parents when we were kids.

“The correct answers usually refer to areas in which candidates wish to deepen their knowledge, or projects that they have not yet had the opportunity to accomplish. He adds, “A short answer is necessarily a wrong answer.

What would a person who doesn’t love you say about you?

General Stanley McChrystal, founder of the McChrystal Group, says that this question “puts a person in a position to try to express how others perceive him or her.”

The answer is less important than the way you answer. Indeed, the question “forces candidates to consider what are their least attractive qualities, but also to find the courage to share it with someone who has their careers in their hands”.

Source: Business Insider

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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