Learn questions to uncover work ethic, resilience (or lack of), ability to work without cheerleading, and business acumen, as well as how to spot gratitude.
- So tell me about yourself. It is the classic interview question and every candidate already has a coined answer. But do any of them really tell the truth? Has anyone ever answered, hmm, about me? Well the main thing you need to know is, I'm kind of self absorbed. Or, well the thing I think you'll really like about me the most is, I take criticism really personally and find it disabling. Or, you know what? I'm actually kind of a continual excuse maker who doesn't get things done.
No one ever answers that because they practiced the answers they know that you want to hear. So as a hiring manager, your challenge is to dig deeper. You don't want to know what this person's scripted answers are. You want to know, how are they going to show up on Monday morning? So the challenge is, how do you separate the entitled from the enlightened? So let's look at some data. Millennials place a very large emphasis on employee well-being and development and their company's contribution to wider society.
They tend to place less emphasis on personal income and short term financial goals. Now, sometimes this is the reverse of what someone in a leadership position would prioritize, which might be the financial goals. So it's important to keep this in mind, because when you ask a millennial about what gets them excited about this job. If their answer is something around, I want purpose, I want meaning. That doesn't mean they need to join the Peace Corps or their afraid of hard work. In fact, recent research from Google revealed that meaning and impact are two of the five traits that are found in the highest achieving employees.
You've got to keep in mind, the Millennials were the generation who's parents told them, you're going to change the world. So having an impact is a very high priority for them and it's what the best Millennials want in a job. So let's take a look at a sample interview, to see how this plays out. Elizabeth is going to be interviewing for a project manager role in a consulting firm and I'm going to be the hiring manager. I'm going to ask her a few questions and then we'll regroup after the interview to dissect her answers and figure out what they mean.
So Elizabeth, what excites you about this job? - Well, the opportunity to help small businesses is really exciting to me. You know, I think so many of them are missing the boat in terms of getting leads from technology and it would be a great position to help them. - If you listen, with her answers, Elizabeth is demonstrating her value proposition. She's describing why this job would matter to her. She focuses on what she can bring to the end game.
Now this is a really good thing. She's not talking about the company and she's not talking about profit or stock price or anything like that. That's okay. It doesn't mean she's dismissing those aspects of the business, it means she motivated. Her inner driver is all about purpose and we know that is actually going to make her a higher performing employee. So why our company, instead of you know, any other company? - Well there are a lot of companies who have lead generation software, obviously, but I feel really called to your company because my parents had a small business.
And I think you know, it's an under served market and they really do struggle, these mom and pop shops, with technology. And the opportunity to help them and U-alls relentless focus on them has really inspired me to come interview here. - Do you see the connection here? Elizabeth is personally bought into the mission of the company. So how do you think you'd be a fit for our culture here? - Well, I'm an ambitious person and I know U-all are a very ambitious company. I'm really looking for somewhere where I can grow and develop leadership traits and really expand my career beyond what it is now.
- Now on the surface this might seem like a great answer. But I want you to notice a couple of really important nuances here. Let's go back to the question. Why do you think you would be a good fit with our culture? Now Elizabeth talked about her own qualities, tenacity and ambition. Those are really important. Who doesn't want a tenacious, ambitious employee? But the context of her answer was solely about her and what the position would do for her. It wasn't about how she could affect the organization or how she can impact customers.
If I heard this in an interview, I'd reframe it and ask the question again. I'd say something like, that's great. You know performance really matters here, but why do you think you'd be a fit for our culture here? You see, when most people are interviewing, they're looking for work ethic and skills. Those two things will tell you whether or not a person can do the job. But there are also things you want to look for that will tell you whether or not the person will stay in the job and be excited about it.
You're looking for three emotional underpinnings. Number one: Is this person enthusiastic about what your company actually does? You're industry, whatever you make, whatever you sell. Do they care about it? Number two: Do they feel a personal affinity for your company in particular? And number three: Do they understand, it's not just about them? It's about your company and your culture. Now those three things will tell you whether or not this person can not only do the job, but whether they'll stay and they'll be happy.
- Identify information that should be included in job expectations.
- Determine the best ways to engage millennials in face-to-face meetings.
- Explain how to provide effective performance feedback.
- Recognize incentives that will increase retention rates.
- List three signs of employee disengagement.