Richard Branson always asks one key question when doing job interviews
| Last updated
While even the most straightforward of job interviews can be stressful for hopeful interviewees, a tricky interviewer throwing you a curveball in the form of an impossible-to-predict question can make the job of your dreams quickly turn into a nightmare.
No matter how hard you research the company, the role itself and prep for potential questions, these there-is-no-right-answer conundrums can throw you for a loop and make you feel like you're being interviewed by The Riddler himself.
And while you're unlikely to encounter business heavyweight and founder of Virgin, Richard Branson, sitting on the opposite side of the desk - the one question he always fires at potential employees might just give you pause for thought and help you approach these types of questions in a different way.
He revealed in his 2014 business Bible The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership that he was not a fan of the traditional interview process and the usual questions asked.
He writes: "Obviously a good CV is important, but if you were going to hire by what they say about themselves on paper, you wouldn't need to waste time on an interview."
This is why he prefers to ask: “What didn't you get a chance to include on your résumé?”
Branson continued: "As important as it is to look at what a candidate has achieved elsewhere, I have always believed that the single most important thing to consider is 'personality fit'.
"By that I mean, is this someone whose way of being, sense of humour, and general demeanour will dovetail easily with your company's culture?"
Branson also believes employers should always trust their gut, saying they can always teach someone the skills required for a job, but they can’t learn how to adapt their personality to fit a certain workplace culture.
If an applicant comes into the office looking too nervous for him to get a clear impression of them, Branson said he has a way to try and loosen them up.
"I have often broken the ice by asking them to tell me a joke," he wrote.
"It's amazing how telling a joke, even if doing it really badly, can make someone laugh at themselves and come out of their shell."
As for other celebrity employers, Elon Musk reportedly asks candidates a baffling riddle: "You are standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?"
I know, I haven’t got a clue either. According to the Daily Star, answers can range from ‘the North Pole’, ‘the South Pole’ or ‘near to the surface of the Earth’ right through to – my favourite - ‘lost’.
Meanwhile, both Miranda Kalinowski, Facebook’s Global Head of Recruiting, and Lori Goler, Vice President of People Operations, are also said to ask the same question.
The Daily Star reports that they say: "On the very best day at work - the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world - what did you do that day?"
Something tells me they wouldn’t take too kindly to ‘not having to go to work in the first place’ as an answer.