Careers

SoulCycle's CEO says this interview question tells her the most about candidates

SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan.
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SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan.

SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan says that when it comes to job interviews, it's a candidate's questions — not their answers to hers — that seals the deal.

In an interview for the podcast "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis," Whelan shares that some of the biggest mistakes she's made as CEO were rooted in not hiring the right people for her company. Now, as part of the company's hiring process, Whelan ensures that she conducts a thorough interview with all candidates.

She learns the most about job seekers from one question: "Do you have any questions for me?"

"It really shows you, has someone done their research," says Whelan. "Is someone an intellectually curious person? Do they have a list, or are they a more dynamic person where they are queuing off a conversation?"

Leadership and career expert Suzy Welch agrees that one of the most important parts of an interview comes towards the end, when a potential employer ask a candidate what questions they have for them. Welch suggests posing a question that's more creative and shows that you've been listening to the interviewer, and that you're able to think big.

"This is your chance to show you were fully engaged," Welch tells CNBC Make It. "Focus in on an aspect of the job as it's been described."

As an example, Welch says potential employees can ask a question along the lines of, "Mary said part of my job would be interfacing with the operations team. I'd love to hear a little more about what that entails."

Demonstrating deep curiosity about the role, the company and the person interviewing you is a great way to show a hiring manager you have an active mind — one they should want on their team.

"The worst is when they say, 'All of my questions have been answered leading up to this point,'" says Whelan. "I'm the CEO of this company — I would think you would want to know a little bit about my vision, or how we operate as a team! There is always a question."

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