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Career Advice

From Marc Cenedella
Marc Cenedella

The world's leading venture capitalist of today shared the career advice below almost a decade ago. While the advice is targeted at the young, I think the experienced ought to pay heed.

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My proven question for getting the job

FILED UNDER: Interview Questions.

How can I make you look good this Monday morning?

Sometimes the career advice business is about finding what works and sticking with it. This week's newsletter is about the best question for you to ask in interviews.

Over the past decade, I've tried a lot of different thoughts, tricks and tips for getting you the job. But the one which I've found has been the most consistently successful for people is to ask their future or prospective bosses:

"How do I help you get a gold star on your review next year?"

This bit of advice has helped more people in more interviews than any other bit of advice I've shared over the years.


Well, the interview process lends itself to our being self-absorbed bores. You're asked so many questions and do so much of the talking that you can end up coming across as self-interested and selfish, to the detriment of showcasing your teamwork and thoughtfulness in the best light.

Or, conversely, we become "job analysis engineers" and ask all sorts of questions about the job, and the reporting structure, and how that fits in with the company's five-year plan, and so on, and so on. I love getting questions from prepared candidates in interviews, but I do have to admit to feeling that they're not quite getting the point of the interview process when they pull out six pages of typed, single-spaced questions and proceed to grill me on each one in succession.

We can get so obsessed with the details of the job that we forget about the work that goes along with a job.

Working together and being a good addition to the team mean being concerned with how you are making the team successful. And that means being concerned with how you are helping to make your boss successful.

Asking the "Gold Star" question shows that you have empathy. It shows that you have an interest in your boss' career and future success. It shows that you are not just a self-absorbed "what's in it for me" kind of person. And it shows that you know life is about "give" just as much as it is about "get".

As Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics said:

"Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that say ‘Make me feel important.' Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life."

Subscribers to my newsletter often say that with the "Gold Star" question, their interviewer's face lights up, their eyes smile, and their interviewer will respond with a big grin about what you can do for them when you're a part of the team in a few weeks.

I've heard time and time again from our five million subscribers how effective it's been in interviews:

Single best career tip

It's an easy tip to implement in your job search. It's easy to do, easy to understand, and easy to measure.

So why not add the "Gold Star" question to your repertoire, and make your next interview… golden?

I'll be rooting for you,

Marc Cenedella
Marc Cenedella, CEO & Founder

P.S. Got a comment or a success to share? Join the conversation on my blog » "My proven question for getting the job"

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