Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: The single best question to ask in a job interview

Suzy Welch: The interview question that seals the deal
Suzy Welch: The interview question that seals the deal

There's one interview question, according to bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, that can become the deciding factor in an interview. If you're a hiring manager, it's your chance to learn more about how a candidate approaches responsibilities. And if you're the candidate, it's a simple opportunity to really stand out from your competition. 

That question, Welch tells CNBC Make It, is, "What did you do to prepare for this interview?"

She says that she loves this question because "the answer can be so revealing, and it's such an opportunity to shine."

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch

"I had a candidate for executive assistant once who looked perfect on paper," she recalls. "She had great experience, plus she aced my editing test. Our conversation was going merrily along, until I popped the question. Her surprised answer: 'Um, I looked for your office on Google Maps.' That was it. That was her prep."

Sure — looking up the location of your interview should be on your to-do list, but it can hardly be considered preparation. Instead of continuing with that applicant, Welch selected someone who went the extra mile, doing ample research on Welch and her professional history beforehand.

"Here's who I ended up choosing: a woman who read all my books and columns, and had even boned up on my employer — NBC — to boot."

Not only did this candidate Google her address, but she also drove by the location the night before to check out the parking situation. "I was like, 'Wow, you started working on this job before you even got it,'" Welch says. "I loved her resourcefulness and grit."

The beauty of this question, Welch says, is that if you're a hiring manager, "you can see how badly your candidate wants the job, and the kind of preparedness, ingenuity and energy they'll bring on day one." And if you're a candidate, she says, "it's an opportunity to prove the same."

"What more could you want from an interview question?" Welch says. "Ask it, or be ready to answer it — it delivers."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at

Video by Beatriz Bajuelos Castillo

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