Careers

The No. 1 question this Chief Talent Officer asks in every interview

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The best preparation for an interview is to come up with answers to the common questions an interviewer may ask and also prepare yourself for questions that will require you to go beyond the surface of your resume.

Cynthia Augustine, who serves as the global chief talent officer for the ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding, explains to CNBC Make It that her favorite interview question is one that gives a broader sense of who you, the candidate, are, in addition to what's on paper.

"I ask your typical questions but my favorite is, 'Is there something that you worked on or you've done that didn't particularly go your way? If so, what was it and what would you do if you can do it over?'" says Augustine.

As a talent executive at an agency with over 8,000 people in 80 countries, Augustine says asking this question gives her a sense of what the candidate learned in a situation that didn't go as planned. It also gives insight into how the person deals with failure.

"The most revealing is when someone says nothing," she says. "That is usually pretty telling."

For Augustine, that kind of response means a person lacks experience on how to deal with or identify challenges. After all, as she puts it, "in everything, failure may occur."

Asking questions that go beyond a resume is not uncommon for many interviewers. In fact, author and journalist Suzy Welch says "a strong resume is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to interviewing." To find out who a candidate really is, rather than what skills they possess, Welch says she always asks, "What did you do to prepare for this interview?"

While being asked about the preparation process may be the last thing a candidate expects, Welch says this one question often lets her know whether or not an applicant actually did their research.

Since many companies want applicants who are not only qualified for the position but also a good cultural fit, job-seekers should be prepared to open up when meeting with a potential employer.

"Yes, I go through their resume and ask about what they did, but there are also broader questions where I just want people to talk," says Augustine.

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