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Why You Must Ask Interviewees What Their Purpose Of Life Is

Finding a #top talent and performer is certainly one of the most challenging parts of a #manager's job, and if done well can yield high-profits, but done wrongly, it may destroy an entire organization.


Over the past 13 years I have interviewed 1500 people in several countries for a variety of jobs in the non/for-profit sectors, and although there is not a silver bullet question that can help detect outliers during an #interviewing process, I found out that asking — “what is your purpose of life”— is the most effective one in my arsenal, and here's why:


It Forces Candidates To Convey Why The Job Will Matter In Their Lives – Several hiring managers ignore it, but an important part of the process is ensuring both company and candidate’s values are aligned. People with a well-defined personal vision statement will look for an organization where they will be able to put into practice everything they believe in. Simply put, if people do not know what they are doing in life, any job will be good enough, and this will compromise your high-performance team's morale. You need people who can absolutely connect with your #company's vision and mission — by making it a way to enable their greater objectives in life. If they “do not know where they are going any road will get them there.” Stay away from it. This is a sign of a bad hiring and a troubled future performance.


People With A Clear Purpose Of Life Will Bring More #Energy And Passion to work and those are 2 traits you cannot teach or transfer according to #Jack Welch. Employees who have it in their DNA will be more engaged, work harder, captivate their peers and above all perform exceptionally well. Ask yourself: “Have I ever worked with a person I love or admire who had low energy?” The answer is probably no. Throughout my career I have had the privilege to work with many of those, whom I also call corporate tigers. They are the ones pushing me harder as a leader to do more, raising my own bar and making me move faster.


It`s A Great Way To Spot A Liar – Usually I Get 3 Types Of Answers And Reactions When I Ask That Question:


  1. An answer that will touch your heart combined with a proud attitude and smile from candidates — this is what you want. Assuming hard and other important soft skills were tested before this is the person you have to hire. The most profound words I have ever heard, came from a #veteran in transition who said: “My purpose of life now is to keep businesses safe from mediocrity and push corporate America to fight for human development.”

  2. A surprised candidate without an answer — some people just do not know or have never thought about it. Take this opportunity to coach and explain its crucial value and why you are probably not going to choose this person. This conversation will make real good prospects come back with a solid statement later in the day. You should give the latter a chance. The ones who do not, just eliminate from the process, in spite of their great credentials.

  3. A poor response whose essence does not match with the person’s track record. I lately heard a candidate say “my purpose of life is to develop myself and the #community around me.” Ok, not bad at all, expect I followed up asking “how many books do you read every year” and “when was the last time you went to school” — the number was as well rounded zero and the year matched the college graduation’s date. I do not have to say this person could not also remember exactly the time he had volunteered for the last time. These liars you do not even wish your competitors could hire.


Fit With The #Culture - As a leader you are the guardian of your company and organization`s culture, which is according to #Jeff Weiner the “collective personality of a team”. A strong personal mission statement will unveil a candidate's desire to drive progress for humanity and how hunger one can be at work — making things happen with ethics and integrity. Your team of high performers will also praise you for bringing in those types of peers.


#Hiring is not science, but an art of decoding candidates intrinsic motivations and then predicting their future behaviors, motivation, energy, passion and ultimately results. Deciding to ask them a non-trivial personal question, can lead you to hire extraordinary people, who will rapidly bond with your team and transform your company and business for good.


As a leader committed to better the world, develop other citizens and make a difference in your organization with uncompromised principles — hire the ones who share these values and undoubtedly expresses them through a powerful and well-defined purpose of life statement, that will excite you, challenge your team and carry on your company's legacy.

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