Forgot a Few Things

I get tons of articles fed into my own little world every day through email, Linked In, Facebook, and all of the other typical places. Most of them I never read, but if someone puts a solid title on it that peaks my interest, I will usually give it a few seconds of my time. If it’s good enough, I’ll continue reading to the end – but many times, I’ll stop a paragraph or two into it. I know that no one who reads my posts are ever tempted to back out of it, instead sitting on the edge of their seat to soak in every drop of “wisdom” that I can pass their way. Today was one of those days though, when the title of an article in Forbes caught my attention and I have given it more thought and time than most of the others. You can read the article here – http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgebradt/2011/04/27/top-executive-recruiters-agree-there-are-only-three-key-job-interview-questions/.

The premise of this article is that there are three questions that need to be answered during an interview:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you love the job?
  3. Can we tolerate working with you?

They concede that there are follow up questions that need to be asked to get to a certain comfort level, but I respectfully disagree that these three questions are the only ones that truly matter.

My first and most objectionable thought is that those questions are only concerned with the hiring entity in mind, not the candidate. I have this funny notion that when a new employee joins a company – that this forms a partnership. It shouldn’t be just to the benefit of one or the other, but mutually beneficial for the long haul. Consider that the new employee likely has a family, a mortgage, and other responsibilities that this new role will impact outside of just his/her love for the job. A decision to part ways impacts much more than just the person filling the seat.

Can you do the job? This is a loaded question. The candidate should repond with questions of their own like, “Will you provide me the tools and resources needed to be successful in this job?” or “Will I be micro-managed every step of the way, or will I have the freedom to do my job?” or “What established training do you have in place to get me up to speed quickly so I can be productive in this job as soon as possible?”

Can we tolerate working with you? That question just oozes confidence that this is going to be a great place to invest your life! And who’s to say that the person asking that question is well tolerated by his/her current co-workers? Is that all week want is to “tolerate” the people we work with? If so, no wonder the position is open in the first place. I get that cultural fit is a huge issue, if you’ve read my other posts you know how important I feel it is.

For me, when I enter a new role, I look for ways to make things better than they have ever been before. That’s not something that can be done instantly, but over some time you should be able to see areas where improvement is needed. I want people around me who look to be creative and strive to set the bar higher than it’s previously been. The three questions here do not imply that this is ever welcome. It basically says to me, “Go do your job and try not to make anyone mad.”

Every business is about people. Every employee can impact success or failure. Give it the importance and respect that it deserves. Know everything that you can about that person who is going to become your “brand” if they accept that role.  What motivates them, drives them to do their very best work? How will their goals and aspirations match the opportunities that will be afforded to them within your company? How have they impacted previous companies? It’s much more than “Can we tolerate you?”