Successful business leaders can’t waste time when interviewing job candidates. They typically ask a few unique questions that aim to quickly reveal a person’s true character and smarts. According to a recent Business Insider report, here are the go-to questions of 12 top leaders:
1. “Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.” – Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder. Reason: Test originality and courage to speak up.
2. “If you were able to sit yourself down 10 years ago, what advice would you give your younger self?” – Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox. Reason: Discern if a person is passionate about constantly improving.
3. “On your very best day at work, what did you do that day?” – Miranda Kalinowski, Facebook’s head of recruiting. Reason: See the person’s interests and true passion.
4. “What would someone who doesn’t like you say about you?” – General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Reason: Force people to consider their lesser qualities and have courage to discuss them.
5. “Are you the smartest person you know?” – Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle. Reason: He looks for the people who answer “yes.” If people suggest another name, he tries to hire that person.
6. “What’s the biggest impact you had at your past organization?” – Marla Malcom Beck, founder of beauty retailer Bluemercury. Reason: Identify if (and how) people can lead projects.
7. “What didn’t you get a chance to include on your résumé?” – Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. Reason: He’s not a fan of traditional résumés and wants to go deeper right away.
8. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” – Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr. Reason: Good answers focus on how they want to grow and learn. Short answers are bad.
9. “Can you tell me about four people whose careers you have improved?” – Jay Parikh, Facebook head of engineering. Reason: Employees’ priorities should be company, team and self—in that order.
10. “How would you describe yourself in one word?” – Dara Richardson-Heron, CEO of the YWCA. Reason: See whether people know who they are—and see how they package themselves.
11. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. Reason: See if they fit the fun, quirky culture. (The number isn’t as important as the way they answer.)
12. “If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating your first 12 months in the role, what did we achieve together?” – Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack. Reason: See if candidates understand company strategy.