This 5-word question can reveal any interview candidate’s real traits…

Aug 26, 2022 | 0 comments

Mark was an accomplished COO of a reputable organization in New York.

He was a typical high anxiety, hard-working executive.

He started as a supervisor and worked his way up the ladder…

Now he has a very big problem.

All of the new responsibilities are overwhelming him.

How is he supposed to drive the company’s growth, keep track of key tasks, maintain a schedule & not miss any meetings?

And, he almost forgot that he has a wife and kids to spend some time with as well.

This was before Mark knew about the Young Presidents Organization & the COO Alliance.

In fact, he had no formal COO training to excel at his job.

So Mark makes the obvious next step.

He decides to hire an executive assistant.

He made a post on Linkedin that he is looking for an executive assistant-

of course with exceptional communication, organizational & multi-tasking skills.

Oh, and the person should also be a team player.

Mark has a good following on Linkedin as he talks a lot about leadership development & his suggestions for COO training.

His followers wanted to work for him…

…the emails started to pour in.

People from all backgrounds started to apply.

Out of all the emails he received – one stood out.

It was Cindy.

Mark loved the way she introduced herself in the email.

He immediately asked her if she could come over for an interview.

Cindy came – she was the perfect hire that Mark was looking for.

It was “professional” love at first interview for Mark.

She had been following Mark’s Linkedin post for the last 4 years.

She is a very big fan of Sir Richard Branson (like Mark).

She is into Crypto & Web 3.0 (something that has been consuming too much of Mark’s time lately).

Cindy was also interested in topics like leadership development and COO training.

And she had connections with people who were in communities like the COO Alliance & Young Presidents Organization.

The interview began…

Cindy answered all the questions that Mark asked with absolute brilliance.

She had a charming smile and strong speaking skills.

This is it.

Mark felt like he had found the “one”.

He could already imagine how great it was going to be working with Cindy.

She agreed to get started the very next day.

Things were going well – Mark was all hyped about Cindy.

She had a very contagious energy that everyone in the office loved.

Except for one little thing…

Mark wasn’t working less now.

The whole point of hiring Cindy was for him to do less work –

less organizing tasks, less managing the calendar & schedules.

But, he had to train Cindy on everything now.

This was taking an extra hour or two.

He didn’t like where it was going, so he decided to get Cindy trained by Sarah, the executive assistant for the CEO.

Sarah had been in the organization for the past 7 years and is very productive when it comes to her work.

Sarah took Cindy for the entire day to train her.

After Cindy left, Sarah came to Mark’s office…

“Mark, sorry to interrupt but you might have made a mistake..” Sarah told with a hesitant voice.

Mark knew what she was about to say.

“Cindy has no experience in any of the skills an executive assistant must have.

She doesn’t know how to manage a calendar.

She doesn’t understand Google Suite.

She doesn’t even know what slides are.” Sarah said.


Has this ever happened to you?

Here is the fact: Most people who attend interviews Google “How to ace an interview” or “Most asked interview questions” and prepare for those.

The fact that they are good at preparing for interviews doesn’t mean they are good for the role.

It’s very easy to impress someone in a 15-minute interview.

What happens after that is a different story altogether.

You have asked them what their previous experience was, if they are a team player, and where they see themselves in 5 years…

Who mentions that they were pushing papers in the previous job, hated all their teammates, and are planning to live in a caravan after 5 years?


The best way to bring out their true nature is to ask them this magical 5-word question:

“So what’s your favorite movie?”

Wait! What?

How does it even matter?

Should I not hire someone who says their favorite movie is GIGLI?


I’m not suggesting you hire people based on their taste. NO.

Since most people come to interviews prepared for generic questions, they get shocked when you throw this one.

No interviewer has ever asked them such a question before.

You have interrupted their pattern.

They are uncomfortable.

You have pulled them off-script.

Whatever happens from now is their true self talking.

Take notes – the interview has just begun.


Do not ask this question right off the bat.

There won’t be much of a pattern interrupt happening at this point.

Ask 2-3 generic questions they have most likely prepared for…they’d start feeling like they are killing it.

And then drop this bomb question.

Take notes.

How did they react when you asked this question?

Did they get defensive?

Did they stammer & circle around?

Or did they stay calm & explain the situation?

You want composed & level-headed employees that have the capability to deal with uncomfortable situations.

They should be able to function well even if their pattern is interrupted.

This is one of the areas of COO training that I give to our members in the COO Alliance.

It all starts with hiring the right person.

Would you hire someone who thinks Twilight is the best movie they ever saw?

Let me know in the comments.





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Written By Cameron Herold

Written By Cameron Herold

Cameron Herold is known around the world as THE CEO WHISPERER. He is the mastermind behind hundreds of company's exponential growth. Cameron's built a dynamic consultancy: his current clients include a "Big 4" wireless carrier and a monarchy. What do his clients say they like most about him? He isn't a theory guy they like that Cameron speaks only from experience. He earned his reputation as the CEO Whisperer by guiding his clients to double their profit and double their revenue in just three years or less. Cameron is a top-rated international speaker and has been paid to speak in 26 countries. He is also the top-rated lecturer at EO/MIT's Entrepreneurial Masters Program and a powerful and effective speaker at Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer leadership events around the world.

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