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Facebook’s Favorite Interview Question is A Masterful Display of Emotional Intelligence

Great companies ask great interview questions. This one's not just smart--it's emotionally intelligent.

Image credit: Gerd Altmann, via Pixabay

Successful companies know the importance of good recruiting;after all, great companies are founded on great people. But just as important as finding those great people is helping them to thrive after they’ve got the job.

Facebook knows this. As just one of the most sought-after employers in Silicon Valley, it’s locked in a fierce battle for top talent. 

That’s why it’s interesting to take a look at Facebook’s favorite interview question, which the company recently revealed is the question it asks most to potential recruits:

On your very best day at work–the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world–what did you do that day?

You might be surprised by this question. After all, it’s very subjective and doesn’t really focus on a person’s skills or abilities. 

But this question’s not just smart–it’s emotionally intelligent.

Here are three reasons why:

1. It reveals inner thoughts and feelings.

Miranda Kalinowski, Facebook’s global head of recruiting, told Business Insider that when interviewers ask this question, they’re trying to identify a candidate’s true passions and whether that innate interest matches what Facebook is looking for.

Job candidates spend days or even weeks preparing for a coveted interview. But this question helps get beyond canned or even false answers. Why? Because it appeals to a person’s emotions.

After all, it’s very hard to fake passion.

2. It plays to a person’s strengths.

Facebook describes itself as a strengths-based company. That means that management believes if you give people opportunities to build on what they’ve already proved they’re good at, they’ll flourish.

“We know when you’re doing work you enjoy, you’ll be happier and more engaged–and will perform at the top of your game,” Lori Goler, vice president of people at Facebook, told Forbes. “We want every person to thrive in their role. So before you even join, we try to discover your true strengths–and how you play to them. Which activities help you achieve a state of ‘flow’? If you think about your very best day, you’ll know the answer.”

By matching up people with jobs that play to their strengths, Facebook puts those people in a position to succeed. That fosters positive emotions like confidence and fulfillment–something you can’t find in every job.

3. It helps the company improve, too.

This question provides Facebook with long-term benefits as well.

Over time, the company collects tons of data on what makes desirable candidates happy. As certain trends and patterns emerge, this enables Facebook to review its own internal job positions and make sure its offerings are appealing to top talent.

In other words, this question not only helps Facebook find the best candidates now, it helps the company build for the future.

Great companies ask great interview questions. 

Remember that you want to hire a person, not a robot. People are emotional creatures, so you want to stir their feelings and get to know them as people–their real thoughts, desires, and passions.

Do this, and not only will you find the best people for your company–you’ll help them to thrive for years to come.

Enjoy this post? Check out my book, EQ Applied, which uses fascinating research and compelling stories to illustrate what emotional intelligence looks like in everyday life.

A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com.

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