Skye Gould/Business Insider
Many of the most successful people have gotten job interviews down to a science.
They’re not in the habit of wasting time with dumb or irrelevant queries.
In fact, they often have one favorite go-to question they like to ask. This typically reveals everything they need to know about a job candidate.
Check out the questions 11 business leaders love to ask candidates:
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
According to the biography “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO likes to ask candidates this riddle to test their intelligence.
There are multiple correct answers, and one is the North Pole.
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh
One of Zappos’ core values is to “create fun and a little weirdness,” Tony Hsieh, CEO of the company, tells Business Insider.
To make sure he hires candidates with the right fit, Hsieh typically asks the question: “On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?” He says the number isn’t too important, but it’s more about how people answer the question. Nonetheless, if “you’re a one, you probably are a little bit too straight-laced for the Zappos culture,” he says. “If you’re a 10, you might be too psychotic for us.”
Another question Zappos usually asks candidates is: “On a scale of one to 10, how lucky are you in life?” Again, the number doesn’t matter too much, but if you’re a one, you don’t know why bad things happen to you (and probably blame others a lot). And if you’re a 10, you don’t understand why good things always seem to happen to you (and probably lack confidence).
Oracle CTO and Executive Chairman Larry Ellison
As Dartmouth business professor Sydney Finkelstein describes in his new book, “Superbosses,” Oracle executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison makes a point of only hiring exceptionally talented and extremely intelligent employees, and consequently coached his coached his recruiters to ask new college graduates this question.
If the candidate answered “yes,” they’d get hired. If they answered “no,” the recruiter would ask, “Who is?” Then they’d try to hire that other person instead, Business Insider previously reported.
According to Finkelstein, super-bosses like Ellison are confident enough in their own abilities that they aren’t worried about employees outshining them, and they aim to hire people who are more intelligent than they are because those employees will challenge them to come up with better ideas and solutions to problems.
Facebook HR chief Lori Goler
Business Insider previously spoke with Lori Goler, Facebook’s president of people operations, about how the social media giant recruits top talent. That’s what this question is all about — on a perfect day at work, what activities allowed you to “get in the zone” and do great work.
She recommends that people interested in working for Facebook apply to roles that play to their strengths:
“They should just apply,” Goler told Business Insider. “We hire people every day who just apply to the website. We love meeting people that way. Jump right in.”