How One CEO Figures Out if a Job Candidate Has Done Their Homework

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By Jacquelyn Smith

Do your homework!

You've been hearing this your whole life. And as it turns out, this instruction is just as relevant and imperative now — while you look for a job — as it was when you were trying to pass your seventh grade math class.

Being prepared will not only boost your confidence going into a job interview, but it will allow you to better answer the hiring manager's questions and show them how committed you are to the job and company. It also says a lot about the type of person you are.In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Lori Dickerson Fouché, CEO of Group Insurance at Prudential Financial, said she always wants to know whether a candidate has done their due diligence on the company, "and that they have a passion for wanting to work at our company."

"I want them to care enough to have done their research to make sure that there's also a good cultural fit," she told Bryant.

To determine whether they've done their homework, she asks: "What kind of cultures do you like to work in? Where do you excel? How do you excel? If you find yourself in situations where they're not going the way you want them to, what do you do?"

"How people conduct themselves when they face challenges is really important," she explained.

Fouché said that she looks for resilience and perseverance in the candidate's responses to these questions. "Most of my background has been working in big companies, and you have to find a way to navigate and negotiate to an end result. It could be a winding path. So I make sure that people feel like they know how to do that, and do it in a way that is respectful of the system."

"And then if they're in a leadership position," she added, "I want to know how they lead people."

To do that, she asks questions about difficult leadership situations and how the candidate managed people through them. "I'll also want to understand how they make their own hiring and firing decisions," she told Bryant.

Read the full interview here.
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