Monday, 1 July 2013

My Three Interview Questions

One of my favourite question which I ask  the people during job interview is "What are your hobbies ? ".  I usually ask this question bang in between other technical and work related questions . Usually there is a pause of surprise and confusion not only on the interviewee's face but also on my co-interviewer's faces. 

There are different reactions to this question.  Some people fumble and do not know what to answer. This was not in their FAQ list.  Some give a blank look and rattle several things   - music, dance,  soccer... There is a third type who after the initial pause of surprise, suddenly seem excited. 

There is a spark in their eyes . Then they talk about their hobby .   

My next question is related to the previous one. If someone says their hobby is reading, I ask him about the last book which he read and why he liked it.   Or if their hobby is music, I ask a related question. My next question is "If you had the freedom to choose any role in the organization, what would you choose and why ?"

After these three questions, I carry on the rest of the interview. To be frank, even before the final lap of the interview, I know whether I will select the person or not.  I have been asked several times why I place so much importance to these two questions.  Well , I look for one thing .  Passion.

  • Passion keeps you going :  It is very important for everybody to be passionate about at least something in his/her life. When a person's eyes lights up while talking about the recent photography he has done, I know that the fire is inside him. If this fire can be lit up in his work , he will be a great fit in the organization.

  • Passion comes from within :  When I ask the third question about the role which he will choose and why, I get a clear picture about his work passion. Whether it is leading or technical problem solver, collaborating, or directing,the way the answer is articulated again guides me about what they really want to be .. what is it that will goad them to excel at work.  I usually spend a lot of time talking about this aspect.

  • Passion helps in innovation :  If you are passionate about  something, you will  find innovative ways to go around the problem.  Until the problem is solved, the passion inside you will goad you towards success. I have seen insurmountable tasks being done by passionate people. He kept on going when everybody else had given up. 

  • Work is sheer joy :  Though it is an ideal state, but when someone is lucky enough to work on something which he is passionate about, work is just not work. Long hours are not stressful. The satisfaction of  completing a well designed web page or composing a jingle or fixing a complex bug gives immense joy.  If you love what you do, you will never work a single day of your life.  

Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet , Marc Zuckerberg have all talked about finding passion in what you do. They have said "Never underestimate the power of passion "

And for organizations - "One person with passion is better that forty people merely interested "

What do you think ?  Is my style of interviewing controversial ? Need your thoughts !


  1. Ananya,

    Agree 101%.
    I believe that if a person has the will and is passionate about something, they really do well in their work. They should be eager to learn. Asking candidates FAQs should not be the whole sole criteria of selecting a candidate.

    I had always appreciated this interview method of yours for selecting people. And I have seen those people perform very well.


  2. Nice write-up. I feel passion is the most important driving force in anyone's life.
    As for me, life will be incomplete without it :)

  3. Hi Ananya,

    There might be hundred ways of selecting a right candidate but this is something which flaunts a real personality of person.At the time of interview , spontaneously ,these questions reflects his interests,his passion , honesty for his passion and many more.

    Well I am one of the interviewee, who actually realized the importance of those questions in my later stages as well.

    Thanks & Regards,

  4. Upashana, Priya, Mona,

    Good to see you comments and great that you agree !!

  5. Dear Ananya,

    This post was translated into Vietnamese and post at

    Thank you for your permission. Our readers are really interested (with 54 shares and 24 likes).

    1. Good to know that the students find the posts interesting.

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  7. Thanks for sharing this. At least we can have an idea on questions to expect during a job interview and would be able to ask interview coaching Edmonton ahead of how to properly respond to these questions.

  8. Ananya,

    Great to see the analysis provided by you for selection.

    Though, I did many interviews so far and continue to do the same, I find your explanation very useful ad would help me a lot.

    Thank you very much for the same.

    By the way, I came through LinkedIn and I also posted a comment there for "4 Situations Where You should use the Power of Silence"

    Warm Regards,
    Murthy TS, Management Consultant, Seal Infotech Pvt. Ltd.

  9. Ananya Das has figured it out. Thank you for sharing the 3 interview questions that enable the 'job fit' responses you require to hire smartly. Hiring smartly goes beyond an interviewee's technical competency.

    I read an article by Pamela Holloway called "The Right Person for the Job" where she explains that job fit isn’t one of those warm and fuzzy concepts that you implement because it makes people feel better. Rather, it is critical to success. It has been proven, many times over, that job fit positively affects performance, eliminates costly mistakes in hiring and lessens turnover.

    A key lesson for all who do hiring - figure out what 'job fit' looks like for your position/organization and ask the kinds of questions that give the interviewee the opportunity to show you whether or not they have it. After all, job fit is not a “nice-to-have”.

  10. Ananya..good one..thanks for sharing...on question that I struggled with and thought about a lot is "How would you describe yourself?"

    Not an easy one but preparing for this can be helpful and also reveal a lot about a candidate if this comes up (or a question which is a derivative).

    More on this at a blog of mine -->
    How would you describe yourself?

  11. Hi Ananya,

    I still remember my interview at SBS, you asked me about my favorite subject and then my whole interview was shifted to Maths questions. It was like I was there for an job in which only maths is required. You asked my favorite portion in maths and then it was only geometry that was discussed in my interview.

    After my interview my friend sitting outside asked me how my interview went and he was like "yaar mujhe toh maths aata hi nai".

    Thanks Ananya for giving me the opportunity and my first job.

    1. Sanjay , :-). How are you ? Nice to hear from you. Hope you are as agile as you were in the Alpha team :-). Best wishes !!

    2. Hi Mam I am good :). have left SBS , recently joined snapdeal.
      Thanx to you mam for giving me the opportunity.
      How are you, hope you are doing great:)

  12. Passion plays a big role in succeeding at work. It also plays big role in succeeding in life. Passion is drive. Once you loose the drive, you may wonder why you are not successful at interviews. Keep your passion alive!
    Ananya, I like your showing one of the tools to assess passion in the candidate. Thanks.

  13. Just Passion is not enough. It is just one of the key ingredients of the success recipe. People are passionate about many things at the same time and passion does change for various reasons. The Passion that converts to a meaningful purpose is the real passion. Continual focusing and then refocusing is of great importance. Creating verbal affirmations connecting with passion makes Passion result oriented. Result oriented passion drives happiness.

  14. Hi Ananya ,

    After reading this post I could recollect my first job interview taken by you @ Snapon .I was asked about my hobbies and interests first and then only you progressed further with technical questions which made me so comfortable in interview process .As per my understanding nothing is impossible if you are passionate about your work with positive attitude .
    You will always be my inspiration of life .You educated us to rejoice happiness in small stuffs,you taught us to smile and you showed us the importance of sharing thoughts .
    You are my HERO !!!!!

    Shweta Sharma  (With smile )

  15. Facing an interview for the first time needs both confident and knowledge. One having knowledge only can never beat the interview. Self-confidence and other professional skills need to be acquired. I completely agree with the points that you write as the theme. I'm sure, individuals preparing for interviews will surely keep your points in mind. Leadership training Florida.