Motivational Fit: Two Shortcut Questions to Good Employees

Fellow HR blogger Kris Dunn, The HR Capitalist, posted a blog the other day about interviewing. He mentioned the standard way most managers interview, the hypothetical question methodology and its pitfalls. He talked about behavioral interviewing and apparently he is a fan and user, as am I. He did point out the downside of it, and I agree, which is, if not practiced the interviewer falls back into the hypothetical mode. It is very effective, but it does take training and practice and a willingness to ask the hard questions.

Kris suggests using two questions, which he feels cut through the B.S. These are:

  • Tell me when you have been most satisfied in your career.
  • Tell me when you have been least satisfied in your career.

He suggests “Those two questions measure Motivational Fit and are stunning in their simplicity. Assuming you like the background and experiences of the candidate and are confident they can do the job, you really only need to evaluate if your company, the specific opportunity and the candidate are a fit for each other. So ask these questions one at a time. Once you get the response from the candidate, ask “why?” and say “tell me more” multiple times. Then, s.h.u.t. u.p. Seriously – stop talking. Don’t bail the candidate out, but rather force them to tell you what really jazzes them about jobs and companies, and subsequently, what drives them crazy.”

I like this. I have one client where we have had a difficult time finding the right match for the executive positions. The background and experience have been good, but the “fit” has not been there despite DISC behavioral profiles. So I am going to suggest to him we use these questions, perhaps that will be the solution.

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