"What's your dream job?"
If LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner could ask a job candidate just one question, that's the one he'd choose. The specificity of the answer helps him understand who a candidate really is, he tells CNBC's Adam Bryant. The response helps him evaluate fit. "It's so valuable," Weiner says.
Of course, the right answer to that question will vary based on a candidate's career path, says Weiner. If someone has just graduated from college and is starting a first job, Weiner says he doesn't expect a very specific answer. But if someone has been in the workforce for several years, a specific goal shows direction.
"Once you know what it is that you ultimately want, you are that much more capable of manifesting it," he says.
The answer to that question can also raise a red flag for hiring managers. If candidates say their dream job is the one they're interviewing for, their answer might not be genuine. Thankfully, Weiner says he can count on one hand the number of times that has happened.
"I think people recognize the importance of authenticity," he says.
One answer to that question he rarely receives is: "I want your job, Jeff."
It's one he's happy to hear. "I love that response," he says. "I love it."
To be sure, a candidate needs to want leadership for the right reasons and seek more than just a title and perks. But that sort of answer is given by people who know what they want in the longer term, says Weiner.
He says it's a response that signals a certain type of aptitude. "That's the kind of person that you want to take the time to coach and potentially mentor," says Weiner.
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