This Is the Good Emotionally Clever Interview Query to Ask Each Job Candidate
I try to ask a question to every professional athlete I interview: “What drives you more: do you love to win or hate to lose?”
The answer takes a little self-reflection. A little thought. Sometimes even a little harmless self-disclosure.
For people who are used to answering the same questions so often, often almost robotic, this often triggers a real conversation.
So yes: I always felt kind of smart when I asked about it.
Then I found that Mike Morini, a former professional athlete and CEO of WorkForce Software, has a much better use of this question: he uses it to break the ice when interviewing applicants.
“Candidates are naturally nervous at the beginning of an interview,” says Morini. “Asking, ‘Do you love to win more than to lose? Or do you hate to lose more than to win?’ brings a smile to people’s faces. You visibly relax. You realize that this interview is going to be a little different. And it gives me the opportunity to see how well you think on your feet … especially about a question at who have no right or wrong answers. “
Granted, the answers usually fall into the bucket. For example, sellers hate to lose. Marketing professionals tend to love winning. (As for professional athletes? The vast majority hates losing a lot more than they’d like to win.)
Regardless of this, the answer is suitable for natural, talkative follow-up questions. A time when you turned certain defeat into victory. A time you lost and what you did to make sure next time you don’t lose.
Strategies used, lessons learned … As an interviewer, listening, you may never need to reach for your list of prepared questions – the best interviews are conversations, not question-and-answer sessions.
Ask for mike? He hates losing more than winning.
“If you prepare, do your homework, and get the job done … expect to win. And if you don’t, it makes you angry,” says Mike with a laugh. “But sometimes, especially when you’re trying to take advantage of an opportunity, you don’t have time to prepare. In that case, you can even expect to lose – if a love of winning can really drive you.”
Again, there is no right or wrong answer. Results are important; How you get there – at least in terms of the motivation you gain by winning or avoiding loss – not.
Try it. If you want to help job candidates relax and ease their way into an interview, don’t ask the standard interview icebreaker, “Tell me about yourself.” Most of the candidates asked this question to death.
Instead, ask, “Do you love to win more than to lose, or do you hate to lose more than to win?”
And then actually listen to the candidate’s answer. Think about what he or she said, not the next question on your list.
Just think about what you hear … and then ask a question that you would ask if you had a conversation.
Because it feels a lot more natural, you’ll enjoy the interview a lot more – and great candidates too, as they can relax, get into a flow of conversation, and give you their best.
Which is exactly what you really want as an interviewer.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.