Conde Nast HR Director: ‘What Do You Want To Do’ Is The Most Important Interview Question

By Rachel Kaufman for mediabistro

David Gaspin is Condé Nast’s director of talent acquisition, which means he oversees staffing strategy for Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, and of course all the rest.

That means that when he talks, you listen!

He has a new blog and today he explains what the most important interview question to ace is.

It’s “What do you want to do?”

The answer is NOT, he says, “I want to get my foot in the door.” The answer is…well, what you want to do.

An entry-level candidate can say “I want a position where I can put in the work and learn the skills to become a successful sales/marketing/pr/basket-weaving/marine biology professional (please, choose one that’s true for you.)” A more advanced candidate must say what s/he wants to do.

“As an HR guy/recruiter, my job is to make sure that the best possible candidates for a position are presented to the hiring manager. If you can articulate what you WANT to do, it really helps me determine whether that’s you. The jobs I recruit for are hard jobs – they’re sometimes thankless, often long hours, and can interact with difficult personalities. If you don’t really want to be doing the job, you won’t last in it. And then in 6 months when you quit or get fired, it’s my fault for recommending you.”

Yeah. None of this “Oh, I’ll do anything” stuff (unless it is clearly meant as tongue in cheek) because it makes you look unfocused. Recruiters looking to place a candidate who will be copyediting Vogue better love both Vogue and copyediting. If this isn’t you, but you want the job anyway, you could try to find something you do love about the job and focus on that. Or find a job you know you’ll love for years.


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