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1 Question Facebook’s Head of HR Says You Should Always Ask in an Interview

She became an early employee at Facebook thanks to asking this question.

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BY Betsy Mikel - 30 Nov 2017

1 Question Facebook's Head of HR Says You Should Always Ask in an Interview

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

If you're a recruiter looking for good interview questions, you'll find them aplenty. A tactful question can reveal if someone's a narcissist, a complainer or a run-of-the-mill excuse maker.

But if you're on the other side of the table -- the interviewee -- you'll need an arsenal of questions, too. Because at some point, they're gonna ask: Do you have any questions for me?

Lori Goler, the VP of People at Facebook, says you can't go wrong with this one. In fact, it's the exact question she posed to Sheryl Sandberg nearly 10 years ago when she was hoping to land a job -- any job -- at Facebook. She asked: What is your biggest problem and can I help solve it?

Goler tells the story in a post for LeanIn.org, the organization Sandberg started to provide support for career-minded women. This happened in 2008, when Sandberg had recently accepted a position as the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook.

Goler had met Sandberg socially, but didn't know her well. She essentially cold called Facebook's COO and got straight to the point. What pressing problem could she help solve?

"Recruiting," Sandberg told her. "We have amazing people, and we need to continue to build the team." Despite never having worked as a recruiter, Goler jumped at the opportunity. Because when Sheryl Sandberg offers you a job, you absolutely say yes.

After a few months working as a recruiter, the head of HR moved to a different team. Goler moved into the role, and has been Facebook's head of Recruiting and HR ever since.

This question works for getting raises, too

While this question can get you in the door at your dream job, a variation of this can help once you're in the role.

Want a raise? Instead of flat-out asking for more money, there's a more tactful way to do it, a former FBI hostage negotiator advises. "The more you focus on salary, the less successful you'll be," says Christopher Voss. Instead, ask how you can be involved in projects that are mission critical to the company's success.

Why it works

Quartz at Work caught up with Goler to get some more intel on why this question is so effective. Ask how you can tackle an organization's biggest challenges, and it shows that you're someone who's eager to tackle difficult-to-solve problems, Goler told Quartz. It also shows that you're comfortable in chaos and can help create solutions.

If you're truly ready to embrace the hard stuff and prove yourself a critical future employee in this organization, then bring this question to your next interview. And, be prepared to dive in if you get a job offer.

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