It's Your Turn to Question Me

This article was originally published here

5/16/2011 2:25:40 PM

The first rule of achievement-based interviewing and evidence-based selection is this: Never stop asking for more information. Even when you offer applicants the opportunity to trade places with you and ask for the information they want, you can do it in a way that gets you even more hiring intelligence.

In “setting the stage,” you to told the applicant you would tell them about the position and your company and answer their questions after they answered yours. Now it’s time to ask essential interviewing question number five: “What would you like to ask me about the job or our company?”

Ask This Question Because…

The questions you are asked will reveal the applicant’s chief concerns and motivators and provide you with the opportunity to express whatever concerns you may have about them. The point of this exercise to uncover why the in-formation is important to the applicant.

(This question can be used in a slightly different way in a second and third interview. Ask whoever did the prior interview to give you a list of every single question or concern the applicant had about coming to work for the company and ask the applicant to rank them in order of importance.)

What to Listen For…

This is where you learn the applicant’s biggest concerns and key motivators.

Get the concerns by assuring them while you’ll be happy to answer any questions they may have, you’d like them to pretend for the moment they’re only allowed to ask one question. They invariably tell you what’s most important to them.

Regardless of whether it’s opportunities for advancement, job challenges, salary, or whatever, you respond to their question by asking: “Of all the questions you could have asked, why did you choose that one?” It doesn’t matter what they asked, what matters is why they asked it. Once you know, go ahead and answer.

Key Motivators Dictate Management Style

Remember, if you hire the applicant sitting in front of you, you or someone else in your organization will need to manage or supervise this employee. The best way to do that is by meeting the person’s key motivators. Employers who meet their employees’ key motivators enjoy improved profitability and keep their best people on board for less money. Managers who understand what motivates the people they manage do a much better job of managing than managers who don’t.

Never assume the things that get you out of bed in the morning also motivate your employees. The only way to find out what other people want is to ask them and there’s no time like the present to begin. You don’t have to approve, endorse, or even react to the answers you receive — just listen and learn. Once you know the key motivator, think about how meeting it fits in with your company culture.

The most common career motivators are recognition, challenging work, financial rewards, life/work balance, and good/enjoyable working relationships.

People motivated by recognition don’t go elsewhere for “more money” when they feel appreciated right where they are. You can fulfill their key motivator by announcing their latest accomplishments at the next office meeting or in your company newsletter. And don’t restrict your kudos to business goals — community involvement, educational accomplishments and even winning a sporting event are good occasions for public congratulations and praise.

Employees motivated by growth or challenging work will need new mountains to climb. Their managers should make it a point to ask them regularly what they’d like to do next and let them do it whenever possible. Set them on promising career paths and give them plenty of opportunities to prove themselves.

Your company needs to be wage competitive for everyone, but those motivated by monetary reward need more than just a paycheck — they need additional financial incentives as well. They are most effectively managed with monetary bonuses (or perks with monetary value) for achieving specific goals.

Whether you’re responsible for a staff of five or 5000, the people you hire and retain are the key to increasing your company’s profitability. Identify the behaviors you want to encourage and reward them appropriately and you’ll keep your good people happy, engaged, and on board.

Mel Kleiman CSP: Helping companies build a frontline that will help them build their bottomline. Visit and

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