Closing The Gap

This JPMorgan executive likes to ask 3 simple questions in an interview—here's how to answer them

Pamela Lipp-Hendricks is the head of executive talent management and diversity at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.

For more than two years, Pamela Lipp-Hendricks has served as the head of executive talent management and diversity at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In this role, she oversees talent management at the senior level and focuses on the company's diversity and inclusion efforts to ensure that an inclusive and engaging work environment is created for all employees.

As someone who manages a team of 18 people directly and about 80 people indirectly, Lipp-Hendricks tells CNBC Make It at Fairygodboss's Galvanize event that there are three simple interview questions she likes to ask to see if a candidate is a good fit for her team.

The headquarters of JP Morgan Chase on Park Avenue December 12, 2013 in New York.
Stan Honda | AFP | Getty Images

1. Where do you get your ideas from?

When searching to hire a new employee, Lipp-Hendricks says she always looks for people who are curious about learning new things. That's why, she says, one of her go-to questions she asks in an interview is: "Where do you get your ideas from?"

"We want people who are going to innovate," she says, while explaining that with this question she loves to hear how people have used external resources to come up with new ideas.

For example, the talent executive says candidates can detail how they learned something new from a book, a conference or from a simple conversation they had with someone who works in a different career field.

2. Tell me about a time you failed, and how did you bounce back from that?

Like many executives, Lipp-Hendricks prefers to hire employees who know how to overcome challenges and situations that don't always work in their favor. In order to see just how well a candidate responds to these obstacles, she relies on this simple interview question: "Tell me about a time you failed, and how did you bounce back from that?"

"I like to see people who can really try new things and fail because that leads to innovation," she says.

With this question, Lipp-Hendricks emphasizes that she likes to hear what a candidate learned from their failure and how they grew from the experience. "If people say they don't view things as a failure and they don't have an answer, then I'll say, 'Tell me about a time you did something outside of your comfort zone. What was it and why did you do it?'"

Similar to Lipp-Hendricks, Lyft executive Kristin Sverchek also likes to hear about a candidate's failures during their career. She tells CNBC Make It, "I'm actually not looking for somebody who has 100% perfection because that's not achievable. I'm looking for somebody who knows how to manage a difficult situation under extreme stress."

3. What do you do for fun?

As someone who likes to know more about a candidate than the credentials on their resume, Lipp-Hendricks says one of her last go-to questions she likes to asks in an interview is: "What do you do for fun?"

With this question, she says she likes to hear about the things a person enjoys doing outside of the office because "if you're at work all the time, then you're not getting an opportunity to bring those new ideas in."

Though this query may seem irrelevant to a job description, Lipp-Hendricks says it's a fun and engaging question that helps her to learn more about an employee's likes and interests.

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