The 1 surprising question that impresses a CEO the most

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A CEO is interviewing you. What do you ask? That's a difficult question.

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

You want to impress.

You certainly don't want to depress.

Or press upon your interviewer that you're a know-it-all.

But this is the last interview before you get offered the job. This is the CEO.

What do you ask? This CEO would probably rather be at lunch, or dinner or their castle in the mountains.

You might really only have one question to ask. The CEO's time is limited.

My suggestion: "Look, you don't need the money anymore. Why are you still doing this?"

Or perhaps: "Are you one of those CEOs who's just working for their bonus, their second yacht and their mansion in the Caribbean?

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But you don't want to be like me. No one does.

Listen, then, to Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local.

Last year, he asked a few CEOs and entrepreneurs what their favorite questions to be asked were.

One said: What new skills can I hope to learn here?

Oh. Isn't that a touch too egotistical? Some might even describe it as borderline millennial.

Another suggested: What Can I Help to Clarify That Would Make Hiring Me an Easy Decision?

Lordy. Let's translate this: I really want this job. What do I have to say to get it?

How painfully venal.

Even more indigestible was this CEO's favorite: Who's Your Ideal Candidate And How Can I Make Myself More Like Them?

What a troubling politician's question.

Translation: How can I fake you love me?

I was beginning to despair of all this, when I discovered Kerpen's own favorite, as told to Business Insider.

How will the work I'll be doing contribute to the organization's mission?

Why does Kerpen like this?

"This question tells me so much," said Kerpen. "First, it says that the applicant is a big thinker. Second, it tells me that the applicant isn't just looking for a job -- she's looking for something to believe in. I want these people working for us."

There's a slight wisdom in this.

Employees -- especially of the millennial persuasion -- realize that capitalism has meanness at its heart.

Humans are disposable. Profits are adorable.

This means that if they're going to spend their days doing something -- anything -- there's a spiritual uplift if it's something that has at least some meaning.

Some companies are actually bothering to consider their wider role in society beyond making as much lucre as they can.

If, as Mitt Romney put it, companies are people too then they can prove it by having a soul.

It's just that relatively few do.

So if you ask Kerpen's favorite question and see the CEO's eyes emit an involuntary squirm, it's probably not the job for you.

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