Interviewing with Style

Over the last few months, we've looked at how to motivate employees and co-workers and we've examined how to tailor job ads to attract the right applicants from the labor pool. Now let's look at how to match applicants to jobs in an interview.

Core Values

Remember the question to discover people's core values: 
"What's important about your work/a job?"
This ought to be the first question out of your mouth. 
If their core values don't match your job, then your ad simply wasn't written correctly to attract the desired applicant.

Motivation Styles

Assuming that the interviewee passes the core values test, you move on to evaluate their motivation style.

Go-getter/Achiever - Problem Solver/Trouble Shooter 
The next question out of your mouth will take one of their values and you ask:
"Why is (value) important?"
They will answer in one of two ways: "Because of what I can ACHIEVE" or "Because of what I can AVOID" (problem solver). A small percentage will be able to do both (they make good project managers, because they can achieve goals and solve problems as they arise).

Listen closely, because you may also get answers to the other motivation styles and confirmation of their values.

Leader - Follower 
Next question: "How do you know you've done a good job?"
They will answer in one of two ways: (Touching their chest) "I just know." (Leader) or (gesturing outward) "people tell me" (Follower).

Innovator - Processor 
Next question: "Why did you choose your current job?"
They will answer in one of two ways: Innovators will answer with a list of short words or phrases (e.g., challenge, opportunity, chance to learn). Processors will say: "I didn't really choose my last job. It chose me." And then they'll tell you a story about how they came to be employed in that job.

Doer - Thinker 
There isn't a question for this one, but Doers will be on the phone and in your office the moment they hear about the job. Thinkers will show up after considering it.
You might say: "Tell me about your favorite work experience." Embedded in that experience will be Doer/Thinker and all of the other key motivation styles.

Evolutionary - Revolutionary 
Next question: "What's the relationship between your work/job this year and last year?"
They will answer in one of three ways:

  1. It's pretty much the SAME.
  3. What do you mean RELATIONSHIP? There is no relationship. Do you mean "What's the DIFFERENCE?"

Evaluating Your Applicant

If you look at your applicant's resume, you'll find each of these motivation styles embedded in their writing style, unless it was written by someone else for them. You may be able to screen candidates based solely on their resume.

Then, after the interview, when you have their complete motivation style, you can decide which person best fits the job. An innovator would be miserable in a procedural job. A leader will be miserable following orders. A revolutionary will have trouble upgrading things unless they see the work as making the product new or different.

Get the idea? When the economy picks up and you need to hire more people to meet the demand, are you going to hire just anyone, or people perfectly fitted to the job at hand? Hire the right people for the right job and you'll accelerate your productivity and profitability.

Rights to reprint this article in company periodicals is freely given with the inclusion of the following tag line: "© 2008-2024 Jay Arthur, the KnowWare® Man, 888-468-1537, ."