From Kevin Morrill on the Referly blog:
I’ve been doing this question for years and now have seen over two hundred different answers. It’s without a doubt my favorite interview question, because it only take 5 minutes and tells me a remarkable amount about candidates:
I want you to explain something to me. Pick any topic you want: a hobby you have, a book you’ve read, a project you worked on–anything. You’ll have just 5 minutes to explain it. At the beginning of the 5 minutes you shouldn’t assume anything about what I know, and at the end I should understand whatever is most important this topic. During the 5 minutes, I might ask you some questions, and you can ask me questions. Take as much time as you want to think it through, and let me know when you want to start.
Kevin then explains what he’s looking for:
- Empathy: “Weaker candidates think that presentation and communication are one in the same, and lose sight of their audience.”
- Goal directed and organized: “It is amazing how many candidates will not premeditate before diving into this interview question. What’s most incredible about this is how accurately it predicts disorganized and non-goal directed behavior on the job.”
- Leaders have the guts to say No: “For senior positions, I will ask a question early in the 5 minutes that is a complete tangent and has little to do with their goal. A star candidate will politely refuse to go down this rat hole and insist that we stay on topic.”