Killer Interview Question: What Did You Achieve On Your Happiest Day At Work?

Killer Interview Question: What Did You Achieve On Your Happiest Day At Work?
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Another addition to our killer interview questions collection: What did you achieve on your happiest day at work?.

Happiness picture from Shutterstock

Lou Relic, CEO of software analytics company New Relic, tells the New York Times he regularly asks this question of potential employees:

Describe a day where you’ve just had the greatest working day of your life. You’re driving home and you’re on cloud nine. What was it about that working day that made you so happy?

Note that the formulation of the question means you have to talk about something you have done in your career (not happiness from family or hobbies), and you can’t go with a generic answer like “knowing I’ve helped my team achieve their goals”. You will need to be more specific. As with most job-related matters, the more detail you can provide, the better.

The most obvious answer would probably concern the completion of a major project. A more effective approach would be to highlight how you solved a specific problem relating to a project, thus enabling to be delivered faster or cheaper.

How would you answer the question?

Lew Cirne of New Relic: Six Chairs for an Ideal Meeting [New York Times via Business Insider]


  • Oh that was the day I told my boss to go take his job, measly pay, crap working conditions and ram them up his arse.

    Might not be the best answer but it would be true

  • Well… any time getting laid at work was always pretty great. I really strongly suspect that’s not what they’re looking for.

    Good challenge, that question. Also probably useful in helping to identify what you’d prefer to be doing in your role.

    Edit: On further thought, I know what it was for me.

    New product roll-out, never been used by the public let alone in conjunction with the company’s proprietary tie-in software, tonnes of ways to break it and no manufacturer manual or support in any form. We had to break the thing every possible way an idiot a customer would, and figure out how to fix it after.

    We were a pack of young nerds, and we were excited. We were figuring out new things, testing ourselves, learning and teaching. We wound up actually gathering around talking shop well after our shifts, and only half the time did anyone ever suggest moving the discussion to the nearest bar.

    We were just so excited about what we were doing that we were effectively collaborating, learning, experimenting, WORKING OFF THE CLOCK.

    A rare moment in time. Wish you could bottle that particular lightning.

  • I screwed my boss and got a raise. I don’t think that would be the best answer though. ;P

  • I’d suggest that waiting on this feeling of satisfaction, described above, to hit you on the ride home too reactive for consistent workplace domination. So, I make an effort to force this feeling on my ride to the office by trying to imagine the endless possibilities and opportunities I will have right around the corner, as a first step. Then I tell the first team member/co-worker I see in the morning, what I feel and try to keep, as my theme for each day. I simply state, “Today is going to be a great day, I can tell already.” It’s not always in those exact words (how robotic would that be) but, the message remains the same. While some who know it’s coming might think it’s a tactic to motivate another person it really serves as a reinforcement to me and a reminder of how I want to proactively attack the day. It has a markedly different effect over the typical “I’ve got a case of the monday’s” attitude most office/corporate environments tend to have in abundance. Try it for a few weeks and you’ll know what I mean. I bet you’ll see things you might have not been cognizant of just a short time ago.


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