A perfect day might be the furthest thing from your mind when you’re headed to a nerve-wracking interview. But if you want to work at Salesforce or Facebook, your ideal day could indicate whether you’re suited for the company.
Recruiting heads at both Salesforce and Facebook have told Business Insider that a go-to question involves a candidate’s ideal day. The question is usually along the lines of: “On your very best day at work — the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world — what did you do that day?”
This question speaks to the innate passions and interests of the candidate, which may or may not fit into the role the candidate is applying for.
At Facebook, the focus is on connection
Miranda Kalinowski, Facebook’s global head of recruiting, told Business Insider that the interview process evaluated whether a person was genuinely invested in Facebook’s mission to share and connect more people.
“We want to connect to our candidates in the recruiting or interviewing process pretty deeply,” Kalinowski said.
The question of what candidates would do on their perfect day identifies their current interests, which Facebook looks at for alignment with the position. Interviewers are looking for authenticity and deep-rooted passion from responses.
Kalinowski recommends that prospective employees look at what they’re doing when they lose track of time at work to gauge where their interests lie.
Facebook looks for people who like to build things, according to Kalinowski, in fields ranging from tech to finance, and a sense of urgency among its hires.
“Anyone who listens to Mark will hear him say that we’ve still got 5 billion people to connect,” Kalinowski said. “No one should be resting on their laurels.”
Salesforce looks at values
Salesforce is similarly mission-driven. Hiring managers look for more than technical expertise: They want people who feel the need to positively affect the world or even just their coworkers.
Ana Recio, Salesforce’s head of global recruiting, told Business Insider that she asked a variant of the ideal day question: What was your best professional day ever?
“There’s not an ideal answer, and I swear I’ve gotten it all,” Recio said. “It’s how people personalize it and the context of when this occurred.”
Recio said the responses she’d received had rarely been about the candidates themselves. Instead, people usually talked about team wins or something that happened within their organization that affected them.
She’s also gotten candidates who say the day they got promoted, which she said was a great answer. They worked for a promotion, set themselves on that journey, and got it.
“So there’s nothing wrong with talking about that either,” Recio said, “but it’s always a fun question to ask.”
Putting it together: Planning your ‘perfect day’
To avoid having to come up with an ideal day in less than ideal time, you might want to reflect and prepare in advance.
This could mean keeping a Good Time Journal, which is a concept introduced by the Stanford professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, the authors of “Designing Your Life.” Burnett and Evans, who respectively direct and lecture at Stanford’s vaunted design program, say the journal could help clarify what path to take to do meaningful work by identifying the tasks that lead to more engagement.
The journal is an activity log. You track what you’re doing throughout the day along with the level of engagement and energy you associate with that activity. The idea is to regularly reflect on the log and see whether you notice any trends or anything unusual, like draining tasks or similar things that engage you. You can fill it out by hand or use the related app.
The professors recommend keeping the journal for three weeks. When you take that time to consciously record what you spend most of your time engaged and energized by, it’ll be easier to pinpoint your ideal day and how certain activities may make you particularly excited. Plus, the next time you speak with a recruiter, you’ll have that conversation piece ready to go.