17 Top Executives Share Their Favorite Interview Question

richard branson

Interview questions like, "What’s your biggest strength?" and, "What’s you biggest weakness?" aren’t as telling as they seem.

That’s probably why most savvy CEOs and executives steer clear of these cliché queries and instead ask more meaningful ones.

In fact, many top execs have their one favorite go-to question that reveals everything they need to know about a job candidate.

Some prefer to ask more serious questions, while others believe that silly queries about costumes and the zombie apocalypse, for instance, best uncover an applicant’s creativity. 

This is an updated article originally written by Alison Griswold and Vivian Giang.

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 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?

How would you describe yourself in one word?

The best candidates are the ones who know exactly who they are. That’s why Dara Richardson-Heron, CEO of women’s organization YWCA, always asks her candidates this question.

Richardson-Heron says she doesn’t judge people on the word they choose, but it does give her insight into how people package themselves. She tells Adam Bryant at The New York Times that she likes when people take time to ponder the question and answer thoughtfully.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider



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