If you could ask job candidates only one question, what would be most telling?
As it turns out, many CEOs have one go-to interview question that they believe reveals everything they need to know about a candidate. Some swear by serious questions about a candidate’s best accomplishment. Others believe that silly queries about holiday costumes and the zombie apocalypse best reveal a candidate’s creativity.
From Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh to Warby Parker CEO David Gilboa, we’ve collected top interview questions from the following nine company leaders.
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).
Tell me about the time you realized you had the power to do something meaningful.
Simon Anderson, CEO of DreamHost, a web hosting provider and domain name registrar, says he asks one question to determine what motivates candidates: “Tell me about the first experience in your life when you realized that you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful.”
“It’s open-ended. Some people might tell the story of when they were five and there was some incident and they had to take more responsibility for their baby brother or sister,” he tells The New York Times. “Maybe it was from their teenage years: ‘Something bad was going to happen at school and I stood up for this friend of mine and all of a sudden I felt self-empowered to do things.’ I think that’s really important. If someone sits there and they’re stumped, I think that tells you something.”