I’d like to have a little fun for this Friday post. I’m sitting on a plane, where I paid for wifi to take care of a few late in the day items. Those took less time than I was expecting, so instead of the cross-post I was planning, I’m going to do this post.
Someone on twitter linked to this article, and Rands had previously linked to it, so I thought it must be worth a read. It’s titled, “We got 10 CEOs to tell us their one killer interview question for new hires,” so I immediately thought, “Rands… why?!” Off the cuff, it seemed like a standard Buzzfeed piece, filled with typical interview mythology where we’re asked to assume that something is profound because Warren Buffet asked it, or something.
As I read through it, though, something struck me. Most articles like this are written by corporate pragmatists, for corporate pragmatists. As such, they are ispo facto not interesting from a realpolitik perspective. They are, to draw on Gervais Principle lexicon, gametalk. “‘What’s your greatest weakness,’ should be answered with, ‘well, try to find a way to describe a strength as if it were a weakness!'” Thanks for that insight, Dale Carnegie!
But as I read the article, it dawned on me that there were potentially non-zero stakes, and that these were actually questions that opportunists might gamely pose to other opportunists. In other words, this isn’t “CEO says that these are questions grunts should be prepared to answer when asked by grunt-managers.” Instead, it’s, “this is something I would ask a C-level person because I would find the answer interesting.” (And finding the answer interesting might be entirely orthogonal to a hiring decision).
So here are the questions, along with what I’d posit as the right answer from any self-respecting opportunist (answers in normal print, commentary in italics).