Jul 27 2023

My Favorite Interview Question

I hosted a CEO roundtable dinner the other night, and someone in the group asked me what my favorite question was to ask in interviews. I kept thinking about something I read years ago, that the late legendary Zappos founder Tony Hsieh used to ask, “do you consider yourself a lucky person,” about which he said, “Lucky people approach the world with an open and optimistic mind that enables them to see unexpected opportunity more readily.

That’s a good thing to find in a future team member of course, but the question is a little too indirect for me.

My favorite question (ok, it’s a compound question) is to ask someone “What are you great at? What do you absolutely love doing, what gets you out of bed in the morning? And what’s the intersection of those two things?”

In terms of an interview question, it’s one that’s hard to game and also one that gets someone talking authentically about themselves in a way that you can use to evaluate both their cultural fit and their role fit.

This also happens to be the approach I take when I’m giving someone career advice. Think through those three things, and you should start narrowing down the kind of job you want to go after.