The Definitive Guide to Business

The surprising interview question this tech CEO asks every job candidate

Former Disney exec shares her revealing questions for potential hires

For one ex-Wall Street analyst turned tech executive, a good interview uncovers what a person loves — and hates — about a prospective job opportunity.

Christa Quarles is the CEO of OpenTable, an online restaurant reservation company that seats more than 20 million diners each month. The company, owned by the Priceline Group, has generated $45 billion spent at restaurants over the past two decades.

Quarles told CNBC that her favorite question to ask job candidates is two-fold: "What part of this role do you love and you can't stop doing? And what part do you hate doing?"

Christa Quarles, CEO of OpenTable.
Source: Open Table

It's all about discovering if that person has a passion for what the job entails, the CEO said.

"Is the majority of the job something they would want to do even after the kids go to bed," said Quarles, "that they're engaged by and engrossed with because they're excited by it?"

The executive has been a part of many different teams as a former equity analyst, tech executive and Disney's senior vice president of mobile and social games.

"You're just going to get a whole lot more out of an employee if they like what they do," she said.

What part of this role do you love and you can't stop doing? And what part do you hate doing?
Christa Quarles
CEO of OpenTable

Quarles is also realistic, which is where the second part of the question comes in.

"But [it is] also understanding that everybody hates a part of their job — everybody does," she said.

She will follow up on what a candidate doesn't like with the question: "So if you hate this part of your job, what are your strategies for managing that?"

Giving candidates the chance to be honest about what they dislike, as well as solutions they use to deal with it, will help you make your decision, she said.

Quarles said that she also looks for a "warm personality" and a "joie de vivre," attributes she feels fit into her company's culture.

"I want you to bring your whole self to the job," she said.