The Definitive Guide to Business

OpenTable CEO shares the one interview question she asks every candidate

Christa Quarles, CEO of OpenTable.
Source: Open Table
Christa Quarles, CEO of OpenTable.

OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles doesn't always have a specific set of interview questions lined up when hiring.

In general, she's "looking for whether your eyes light up when you're talking about 80 percent of what the job requires," she told Adam Bryant of The New York Times.

However, the CEO does have one go-to question: "I always ask, 'What kind of work do you avoid doing?' Because there's always a part of your job that everybody hates," she explained. "I want to understand what part that is."

Quarles also wants to understand what makes an applicant tick, because "the person who enjoys their job is going to give you 20 times the effort," she told Bryant.

After all, successful people tend to follow their passion.

As journalist Napoleon Hill, who spent decades interviewing and studying more than 500 self-made millionaires, reported in his 1939 classic "Think and Grow Rich": "No man can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like. The most essential step in the marketing of personal services is that of selecting an occupation into which you can throw yourself wholeheartedly."

Steve Jobs said something similar 66 years later during his 2005 commencement address to the graduates of Stanford University: "You've got to find what you love. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."