The perfect interview question

The perfect interview question

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Last week, I caught up with a new client who asked, “When we get to interviewing, should I tell them I have a career coach?”

I reflected on the question later that afternoon on the walk home. I have done hundreds and hundreds of interviews and asked some pretty quirky questions: “How many tennis balls fit in an airplane?” and “If your uncle passes away and gives you the kebab shop, what do you do?” and “What superhero best describes you?”

I have also asked some pretty direct questions: “Please tell me five things you are not?” and “I don’t think you are right for this role” (and see what and how they respond).

However, I don’t think I have ever directly asked, “What are you doing to grow yourself?” I decided to reach out to a few leaders and check if they cover it; they didn’t.

When we interview, we are consciously or subconsciously looking for a candidate to tick off all of the “three C’s of interviewing.” The candidate who has the biggest ticks usually gets the role. Therefore, the questions we ask are usually aimed at surfacing up the information required to tick or cross. The three C’s are the following:

1.       Commitment – Will the candidate stick around or be a runner?

2.       Character/Culture – Will the candidate fit into the team?

3.       Capable – Will the candidate be competent?

When my client asked me about disclosing coaching in an interview, my response was instant: “Absolutely, we will, and we will be building it into one of your responses. Maybe two.” I was always impressed with the candidates who actively sought to better themselves.

Here is why I think “What are you doing to grow yourself?” is the perfect interview question.

If they respond positively such as been coached, mentored, trained (self or instructed)—anything other than their university that indicates on-going personal growth or self-investment—this could highlight a great candidate:

1.       The candidate is committed. They likely have a plan in place, and it is no accident they have applied for the role.

2.       The candidate has a good character. They have a growth mindset and will be eager to learn and impress and be receptive to feedback.

3.       The candidate is capable. They will likely rise to any challenges they face within their role.

On the flipside, if the candidate does not respond well to the question, this could be an early indication that they will not be a good fit.

Looking for more leadership and management tips and tricks? Keep an eye on my weekly blog.

Quote of the week: You do not attract what you want; you attract what you are. – Dr. Wayne Dyer