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Jun 17, 2016
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by James

Peter Thiel’s Favorite Interview Question

Posted in Great Interview Questions

Peter-Thiel

Whenever I listen to business leaders or other thought leaders speak on the topic of talent, I like to unpack their insights.   On an episode of the Tim Ferris podcast, Peter Thiel revealed one of his “go to” interview questions.

 

While I’m not a big fan of using “go to” or favorite interview questions, I think it’s interesting to study them.   People ask them for a reason.   Typically it’s because the questions elicit a response that the asker cares deeply about.

For example, Peter’s favorite interview question is:

 

What important truth do very few people agree with you on?

 

With this deep and insightful question, he’s trying to get at how much courage you have to think differently when everyone else is thinking the same.  It also tells Peter something about what you’re passionate about.

 

Peter explains in his book “Zero to One” that brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply.   When candidates respond with something like, “Education is broken” or “the financial system is rigged”, it shows that they don’t exhibit unique beliefs that could lead to a breakthrough innovation.

 

Per Peter, a good answer comes in the following form:

 

Most people believe in “X” but the truth is the opposite of “X”.

 

For example, most people believe that the only way you can obtain a ride around a big city is by calling a taxi, but the truth is, anyone can act as a taxi.

 

And that’s how Uber was born.

 

If you can identify a delusional but popular belief that a lot of people have and you can find the truth that lies behind it, you’ll have the makings of a game changing idea.

 

Since Peter Thiel is a professional investor in startup companies, it makes total sense why he loves this question.   He’s looking for the next game changer.

 

Want to write better interview questions for your candidates?  Download our “How To” guide and start asking better questions today!

 

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