Ask About Values Before Hiring

By Catherine Lang-Cline

It’s always exciting when you open a new role at your company. Here’s your chance to bring in fresh insights and perspectives to uplevel your whole team! As the interviews wind down and you’ve narrowed the field to your top one or two candidates, how do you know which is going to be the best fit? On paper they both might look terrific, and obviously they can do the job or they would not have gotten this far. But are there ways to predict the “fit factor,” and shed some light on how they will mesh with the talent you already have in place? Sometimes it is all in the questions you ask.

Companies often focus on asking candidates about their previous work experience and skills, but forget to discuss a person’s values, which are going to drive their behavior from their first day on the job until their last. Here are some great questions to illuminate how your candidate sees the world.

1.     Tell me why you have chosen this career? You can find out if they have a real passion for what they do. You are, after all, in this business because there was something you loved about it. Having a passion for it means that they will take pride in it. They will see their work as a part of themselves and strive to produce quality results.

2.     Give me an example of when you received negative feedback. How did you handle it? This will reveal if this person is open to criticism or if they have a large ego. You will see if they can handle change and grow in their role. Everybody makes mistakes and no one is perfect at everything. Can they accept blame and responsibility?

3.     What do you do to stay current? Everyone must be willing to take on new projects and challenges. There are an array of things everyone can proactively do to stay on top of their industries, such as; webinars, books, mentors, etc. If a candidate says they wait for their employer to offer training, you are going to have a very passive person on your hands.

4.     Tell me about a time you were really pressed for a deadline. Here you can find out about their commitment, work style and work ethic. You could even ask if they have ever missed a deadline.

5.     Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? It would be the hope that they have some answer resembling a “yes.” But also they would need to know when to let go of a project, otherwise nothing gets done.

6.     Has there ever been a time when you had to perform outside of your role? You are trying to find out if this is a “that is not my job” kind of person. You are hoping that this person is a team player and works for the good of the company.

Questions like these will showcase if someone values things like you do. Whenever you’re interviewing, think about what the most important thing to succeed in the role is and ask questions shaped around that. Skills can be taught, but values cannot.