There have been debates over time on the kind of questions to ask interviewees by interviewers, which will determine whether they are fit for the job in one or all ramifications. The debates just even got interesting, after the latest contribution by Jeff Weiner. In a recent interview with the LinkedIn CEO, he gave an extensive insight into his school of thought on leadership, and he did this by answering a very interesting question.
The interviewer, CBNC’s Adam Bryant, had asked Weiner; “if you could ask a job candidate only one question, and had to make a hiring decision entirely on the basis of the answer, what would the question be?” Everyone was really expecting what Weiner would come up with, and almost immediately, he answered; “What’s your ultimate dream job?” Wow, you say? He further corroborate his answer to the question.
According to Weiner, “It’s not just changing the world–that’s not entirely helpful in that context. It’s literally, if you could write down your perfect job, the company, the role, you name it, your job description–what does that look like?”
When asked why he believes this single question is the most important, Weiner said the answer and the specificity it carries will help him get a sense of who the interviewee is. If the candidate is young, then the specifics should be relatively brief, considering the fact that these individuals, at that stage in their career, are just starting.
However, for the ones that have been in the system for so long, he thinks knowing what they really want would be very helpful. “I think once you know what it is you ultimately want, you are that much more capable of manifesting it”, Weiner concluded.
Another reason he would go for the same question is because the answer to that simple question will also go a long way in helping him determining how fit and relevant he is for the position over the long term. Weiner explains that it is common for both the hiring manager (on behalf of the company) and the candidate to reach a conclusion on the deal as soon as possible, i.e., whether the candidate takes up the offer or not. Whereas, the point remains that there is more to hiring, in fact, it is just the starting point of a long relationship, hopefully. Thus, it is very important to know how a candidate would thrive in that role he or she wants to take up.
How frequent does interviewees accede to the fact that the job they are currently interviewing for is their dream job? Weiner answered this question by saying that only a few people would make such confession, perhaps because they understand how vital it is for them to be authentic and real at that moment.
How about a response that goes thus; “I want your job, to become the CEO of LinkedIn?” Weiner said he had only encountered such responses a very few times.
However, it is a reply he would love to see people say more often, as he believes such individuals who know what they want and believe in the same course are the right type to coach and mentor, if possible, especially if such capabilities and qualities require to thrive in a CEO role are present in them.
Even at this, Weiner believes such assertions must be for the right reason; he would not be impressed by a candidate who sees the salary, power or other benefits that come with the job as the reason for making such aspirations. The candidates with the right mindset would rather think about the company on a long term, instead of material gains. “To the extent they’ve looked forward to the day when they can help steer a company, when they can help codify and put a stake in the ground on vision, on mission, on culture and values and strategy, and help bring people along and build incredible teams, and deliver products that help change the lives of the people those products ultimately serve–it’s exciting to hear an answer like that,” he says.
While the interview was a very interesting one and also an eye-opener, we shouldn’t forget the kind of message Weiner has tried to pass across through the same. He has shown himself to be a matured and wise leader, who sees a rather threatening answer as exciting and interesting.
If you were Weiner, and asked the same question, what would your reaction be if a candidate tells you point blank that your job is his or her dream job?