When CEOs ask tricky interview questions they're usually not trying to intimidate you. Rather, they want to get a better sense of who you are and whether you're a good fit for their company — and these difficult queries are sometimes the only way to determine that.
The New York Times' Adam Bryant recently interviewed Brad Jefferson, CEO of Animoto, a video slide show service, about leadership, management, and hiring.
In that interview, Jefferson shared the three questions he always asks job candidates, along with his reasoning for asking each one:1. Why is the vision of our company important to you?
"I always ask job candidates [this] because I want to make sure they've internalized what we're trying to do," Jefferson explains. "I'm the last interview, and I'm very clear to my managing team that I can say no and then that person is gone." He says he has rejected people at the end of the process because he didn't believe that they really bought into what his company was doing, and because they were clearly "more interested in collecting the paycheck."2. How would one of your peers describe you?
This is a little bit more of an intimidating question, he says, because nowadays hiring managers can actually contact any of your peers through LinkedIn and other social networking sites to ask about you. "And sometimes I will do the back-channel check," Jefferson says. "But I'm really curious about their self-awareness, in terms of both strengths and weaknesses." He wants to know if they see themselves as a leader, or an individual contributor. "Then I'll make sure that's consistent with the role that we have in mind for them."3. What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
In asking this question, Jefferson is really trying to understand their passions, and what makes them tick, he explains. "What are they most inspired by? Is it because there's a goal? Is it to beat the competition? Is it to work on a specific task? I really try to get in their head about what's going to keep them going."
What's more, Jefferson told Business Insider that it's important to understand what motivates a person at their core because "there will always be ups and downs in any business, and you want to make sure the person will be equally motivated during difficult times, if not more so."
"My dad used to say, 'Work is more fun than fun,' and, while I didn't understand the comment as a kid, I now do," he says. "Because if you pursue something that you're passionate about with people who motivate you, then work is really fun, even during the difficult times."
Read the full interview here.
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