I ask it because math is a fundamental skill that employees need when it comes to analyzing the success of advertising campaigns.
The best response is when they answer the question confidently and correctly. The worst is when they say I'm not very good at math or take wild guesses at the answer.
A COO is going to have to communicate a lot: with clients, employees, and myself. It's extremely important that whoever is chosen for the position knows how to communicate effectively with many types of people.
After all of the necessary job questions, I like to ask which TV character the candidate is like, especially since we're a TV/movie tour company, and I want to know more about their personality. There isn't any really bad response, unless they name a very unlikeable TV character.
I use this question to find out how much research the person did prior to the interview. The best people we've hired have all had well-informed answers to this question that addressed our company's goals and what they could do to contribute.
I like asking this compared to “do you have any questions for me” which is open ended and normally ends in no.
If they still reply no, I say I can wait until they do and I'll remain silent. We can learn a lot about someone by the questions they ask and by forcing at-least 3 to be asked, a lot can be learned. I've found that after hiring around 200+ employees a year in my previous business, that the better employees always had great questions that showed they cared and their potential commitment.
This question allows you to brag on yourself, but keep in mind that the interviewer wants strengths relative to the position. For example, being a problem solver, a motivator, and being able to perform under pressure, positive attitude and loyal. You will also need examples that back your answers up for illustration of the skill.
It's important for a future chief operating office to be talented, but finding someone who fits in with the company culture is what really makes the hire successful. That's why it's important to consider your company's brand and ask question that help you determine whether or not the candidate shares your company's vision.
As a long-time search consultant for nonprofit organizations, I always suggest that during the first interview my clients ask, If you were offered this job would you accept it?
While that may seem like an odd question to ask off the bat, the response of the person being interviewed will reveal volumes about whether or not they are enthusiastic about the position. This is especially true if the candidate is from out-of-state.
Tell me about this job, why you think you would be good at it and, if it is the right job for you, what your career here looks like in 3-5 years?
With this question, I'm trying to get at a few things: how well the candidate understands the specific job they're interviewing for, how well the candidate understands the career path and the company, the candidate's own goals, and whether he or she has thought longer term about a career at our company.
In most employee interviews I ask this question: “What scares you the most in life?” The reactions are fascinating. Up until this point, most humans speak too much; they chatter like chimps, crowding the world with verbal noise even when they have nothing to say.
But this question almost always brings pause.
A thoughtful silence enters the room. Eyes look off into the distance and the most remarkable responses flow out of mouths. It's often at this point that I start to see what I came for…a little bit of the truth.
I ask this question because being part of a startup is incredibly scary and there is no room, or time, for posers. I want to hire someone who has looked into the dark corner and can name the monster. I want to see depth. I want to see gumption. I want to know that when it gets tough and there's another heartless lap to go, she will go back out into the dark where it is lonely and scary. One step at a time. Until it is finished.