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Column: This interview question will help you find the kind of person you want to hire

How to find successful and high-performing workers…

Image: Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens

MOST JOB INTERVIEWS tend to focus on how a given candidate will perform in the office, but it might be just as useful to ask interviewees what they will do once they no longer have to work.

In a post on LinkedIn, Taproot Foundation founder Aaron Hurst explains that asking a job candidate, “How would you describe your ideal retirement,” can give you valuable insight into how a person thinks about work — a crucial determinant of whether that person will be a fit for your company.

According to Hurst, the question will help you figure out which of three groups a person falls into in terms of their attitude toward working:

1. The TGIF Crowd: This group sees work as a means to an end — nothing more, nothing less. They’re always looking forward to the weekend and would almost definitely quit their jobs if they won the lottery.

2. The Status-Seekers: These people see work as a way of gaining social status and prestige. They’re working to give themselves a positive identity and to show their peers how well they’re doing.

3. The Purpose-Driven Employees: These people find work meaningful in and of itself, and see their careers as a way of creating good in the world. They can’t stand the idea of not working.

Hurst writes that this third group tends to be the most successful and highest-performing workers, making them the sort of people you want to look for.

“My goal is to build a team of loyal, collaborative, innovative, high performers with high well-being,” he writes. “That is why this question has risen to the top of my interview list.”


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