My New Favorite Interview Question!

I love the concept of questions that will truly show you who someone is. We’ve gone through a long history of asking basic interview questions that don’t really get to the heart of anything. “So, Timmy, tell me what you would like to be doing three years from now?” Okay, well, sitting on a beach drinking margaritas sounds better than this. How am I doing? Did I get the job?

For my interview questions, I really want to understand how someone thinks. What are their true motivations? What gets them up in the morning? It might not be the job I have, in fact, I hope it’s not the job I have because that would be depressing. I don’t get up in the morning for the job I have, I get up because I’m a grown-ass man with a responsibility to take care of my family. I really like my job, but my job is not my motivation.

So, what’s my new favorite interview question? It’s simply this:

So, with the latest data scandal at Facebook, did you delete your Facebook account? 

I ask, then I shut up and wait for an answer.

What am I looking for? I’m looking for people who aren’t so naive and fragile that a data breach on a free platform that they willingly signed up for wouldn’t cause them to freak out.

I’m looking for candidates who would go, “no, why would I?” They would describe the process of signing up for Facebook, knowing they were getting value out of something they never paid a dime to use, and knowing that came with a cost. That cost? It’s your data.

I’ll tell you, that isn’t the only right answer. The other answer I would accept is, “Yes, I did, and I also deleted LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, etc. I deleted these because I was tired of using free platforms that I know manipulated me and take my data, and I finally got to a point where I didn’t want that to happen any longer.”

Either answer, I would be good with. Both answers show me that the candidate has a pretty good head on their shoulders to understand how the real world works.  The same kind of head my grandparents had. No one gives you a free lunch. If you’re getting a free lunch, there is an expectation that you’ll be giving the person paying something, eventually.

If the candidate did delete their Facebook profile, then went right out to Twitter to announce it, then, well, that’s an answer to. It’s not the answer I’m looking for in a candidate I want working for me. I don’t need employees who are shocked by the basic realities of life. It was free, but it cost billions of dollars to make. How do you think they’re paying for it?

Oh, I just love the perfect interview question! Designed correctly, it can give you such great insight to an individual! So, what’s your favorite interview question?


39 thoughts on “My New Favorite Interview Question!

  1. My favourite interview qestion:

    How do you prove you are WHOM you claim to be and actually DID the resume work listed? “We have heard contrary info . . .”

    1) Birth Certificate and blood/DNA test provided
    2) Portfolio/Photos & References Provided
    3) Create a short ad/brochure right before client’s eyes on laptop computer.
    4) Wear clothes made for interview. Then give appropriate website names, references, groups to search (in my case this would take a day or two.)
    4) Introduce friend (who may kindly participate in informal coffee shop meeting) for whom job applicant had worked/volunteered. Enjoy watching interviewer’s discomfort upon their discovering the prominent identity of individual friend and applicant’s accomplishments (often friend is a reference, too.)
    5) Provide income tax forms. Need more proof? . . . Many more can be listed . . .

    Everyone’s life story is different, but there appears to be a great need to prove everyone is a liar. Everyone makes mistakes – illness, family issues – circumstances vary, and people are quick to judge. The employer’s immature judgement is an applicant’s warning: “Do I really want to work with this person/company?” Follow your instincts, don’t jump for the titled pay. And . . .

    Please pray for the angry, insecure, people who gossip/lie about others (revealing THEIR insecurities, but accomplish nothing in their own lives), that they too, find such blessings.➕
    Happy Easter to everyone!
    Ida Fedor-Baan (

  2. “That’s an answer too.”
    Never end a sentence in a preposition (to) and use the correct word.
    That’s what I look at in a company or interviewer. Because if you aren’t that detailed or committed to a proper education, then I would have to question working there.

    • Sorry buddy but you are incorrect in your jab at the author. His use of “too” is correct in that it is a synonym of “also”. And “too” is not a preposition. I would review your rules of grammar usage before you choose to call out an author and question their education. If you said that to (proper use of to) me in an interview I would escort you back “to” the lobby and wonder where you received your degree in sanctimony.

  3. I think your relationship of the answer to the questions is incredible tenuous. Its a question that sounds insightful but by itself means nothing. Your making an assumption that the people who didn’t delete:
    1. Heard about the story.
    2. Understood it more clearly than you did (not a data breach)
    3. Made a rational thoughtful decision about where they wanted their data.

    In truth most people run by habit. I was busy taking my kids to soccer practice telling my spouse I love them and havn’t really had time to consider what happened is just as likely of a reason …but I’m sure they will make up something thoughtful in the interview.

  4. Tim, doesn’t a question like this “turn off” rockstar candidates?

    When I interview I look to get into thoughtful conversation about the person, the work, the company, and the industry.

    I try to get the candidate comfortable show their best self can shine.

    I feel a question like this would put up their guard

  5. a). Your grammar is sub-standard.

    b). Your evaluation of someone’s competence based on a single question is intellectually deficient.

    c). Facebook was created with virtually ZERO capital input.

  6. Your position that this was a “data breach” is inaccurate. It was FB willingly letting one of their contractors do whatever they wanted with user data. I’d also suggest that the question posed is pointless. It doesn’t tell me a thing about how someone thinks or analyzes or decides.

  7. If you weren’t already aware Facebook was the biggest grass on the planet prior to the highly publicised ‘breach’ you don’t take your actions seriously .

  8. How about this ” I never had a Facebook account to begin with so I’m not in the situation that so many are today. Therefore that makes me a mind reader and soothseer . . . a very special quality I posses and can bring to your company. But, because you ask stupid questions that you think are so insightful. . I’ll use my unique talent in this situation as well . . .and walk away”

  9. I am guessing the author works for Facebook. This was not a data breach. This is Mark Zuckerburg reportedly referring to Facebook users as “dumb f#%*s” for not realizing how Facebook used their data including cell call and text data.

  10. Seriously, you think this facebook question is a good indicator of analytic skills? My response after analyzing how to answer the question would be: what exactly does this have to do with the job? How about asking me a question about how I might handle a hypothetical situation on the job?

  11. Tell me about a time when you were given the lead on a project, how did you tackle the assignment, what went right, what went wrong and in hindsight, what would you change?

  12. As an employer of software developers, I would have been more interested in a question like ‘what type of reactions could people have and why’. At least that can give me a sense of a person’s analytical abilities, cause there are a lot more possible responses to be aware of.
    Just another example why I don’t like to work with recruiters.

  13. It’s funny how people sitting on the other side of the table come up with questions that “surely” will define a person. I mean, they are on the “judge” side, that means they MUST be right.

  14. What if I never used facebook and never intend to use it… Would that answer qualify or disqualify?

    Conform or be cast out?

    • Timo, I was going to ask the very same question! My answer would be “I never had a Facebook account in the first place because I always thought the hidden price was too much compared to the service”. I’m curious how that answer would be evaluated. I guess it turns the tables around.

  15. My favorite interview “question” to ask is “Tell me about one of your favorite coworkers. Current or former are both fine, just pick someone who stands out.” While it often makes for great stories, it also gives you a sense of what the candidate values in a colleague and how well that gels with your current team.

  16. Really folks? What happend to you have the skills for the job it is yours upon criminal record checks? Now employers ask such absurd questions that has nothing to do with nothing about the job they are hiring you for. The love to poke into your private life, or show they don’t know their head from their ass in how a real job interview should be conducted. Get your heads out of your ass and man up and train instead of complain.

  17. This article struck a good chord with me. Many people do not take into consideration that questions that seem like they have little to no relevance have a great deal more meaning than the average old sell all questions. As an Interviewee, I look for an Interview that stirs both my mind AND my emotions. I am passionate about the line of work I have chosen to follow and am looking for someone who sees that. I play chess, I didn’t delete my FB acct, DID tweak privacy settings, and AM aware that nothing is Free, regardless of advertising. Just as Interviewers have their standards, so too should Interviewees. An excellent article with useful and intelligent feedback. Who Knew?! Thanks!!!

  18. My answer would have been: I deleted my real account a long time ago because I feared something like this would happen. But I still haven’t closed my fake account that I am forced to use when a “corporation” insists on forcing me to use facebook to get access to some data or information regarding themselves.

  19. I work for a consulting engineering firm and interview a number of potential civil engineering candidates throughout the year. My favorite interview question to ask is, ” If you are driving down the highway, just you, typical day, as you are driving what do you see?” We are looking for the response that indicates the person’s awareness of his surroundings with respect to aspects of his/her profession such as highway design, drainage, construction techniques, etc. It gives us an indication of whether the candidate is passionate about their professional choice. I can not deny we do receive many of “the road ” responses. Safety is important but perhaps a better response would have been “the destination ahead”. Just a thought. Good article all the same.

  20. I would have failed the interview, as my answer would be ‘I did not have a Facebook account’.
    Win some, lose some, I will have to look elsewhere!

  21. The most annoying questions are those that have absolutely nothing in common with the actual job and the person’s abilities. Reactions, eye contact, and references/portfolio presented in the resume and researched on-line may be an employer’s way to get the “best” candidate. Honesty helps, too. Employers will not admit it but they fear the disabled, anyone over age 50 and judge by Facebook posts.

  22. My favorite question to ask is “Do you play chess?” I don’t care how often they play, but chess requires strategy, careful planning which includes alternate plans for unexpected moves, and it requires making decisions to sacrifice pieces of value for the overall goal. I’ve never been allowed to use that in a standard set of interview questions but I always try to ask it at the end of the interview under the umbrella of a “follow-up question”…. and quite often the answer it what tips the scales!

  23. Oh gosh, I wanna he asked this question! My answer: I deleted Facebook before the data breach because it truly was not adding value to my life. I didn’t connect with 95% of the content I was fed, and the “friends” in my feed were really not friends-most of them were just people I knew who, if I didn’t see them on Facebook, wouldn’t really commandeer time that I could be spending with people who really were my friends and my family.

    That said, I am much more active on LinkedIn, which I have carefully curated to be filled with connections that add some value to my day by provoking thought relevant to my career, or staying connected with colleagues that I don’t directly work with on a day to day basis.

    I find that most of what I read now that I am driven more to linked in for my social network distraction provides knowledge rather than triggering an emotional response that may or may not be positive, which is more of what Facebook afforded. Not that I don’t want emotional responses, I absolute do, to things that are meaningful to me and inspire me to do more good.

  24. It seems “Not applicable. I have never participated in social media” would also fit your criteria for an acceptable answer. Those people do exist (clearly not me), and they don’t participate in social media because this situation is what they feared. And, no, I didn’t delete FB.

  25. Dearest Tim,

    Are you trolling your readers today!? Sorry useless question used to massage the interviewers ego. Perhaps your candidates have feedback regarding steel tariffs, I mean they likely purchase products made with Chinese steel.

    I will say you haven’t steered me wrong yet, and I do have a few phone screens stacked up for tomorrow. Laterssss

  26. Good one! I would be looking for someone to say “No, I didn’t delete it. I knew what I was getting in to when I joined. I did, however, go in to my privacy settings and make some tweaks. And I disconnected ads and apps that I don’t use, or that I don’t want to have my data or my friends’ data. I’m trying to use common sense precautions to protect my data and that of my connections.”

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