The best question to ask in a job interview: Simon Anderson

From Simon Anderson‘s Corner Office interview:

Q. Let’s talk about hiring. What qualities are you looking for, and what questions do you ask?

A. I like to hire someone who’s the sort of person who believes they can come up with solutions to problems. It’s definitely not black and white, but I find that if I ask someone about their experiences, and their answers start sounding like, “The world did this to me,” or “An outside party did this to me,” then that can be a signal that maybe they’re not the right candidate. I’d much rather have people who believe that they’re empowered to do things.

Q. If you could ask only a couple of questions in a job interview, what would they be?

A. Probably the first one would be, “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.”

I love the approach — essentially, Can you get stuff done? But I’d try two modifications: (1) ask about their recent work, not their first experience, and (2) if you’re trying to find out how empowered they feel, don’t anchor them. Thus: “What has had the largest impact on how successful you’ve been in your job?”.

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