The Best Question A Potential Hire Could Ask During an Interview

Hint: If the answer is yes, the process just got longer.

We’ve all been in an interview before, and we’ve all heard the standard list of questions. After working with DRYVER for a couple of years, I’ve seen a lot of questions and asked even more about the recruiting process.

While speaking about the future of work around the world though, I realized quickly that the job description isn’t really a description of the job at all. It is merely a skills and requirements checklist, offering very little understanding about the environment and cultural ‘fit’ of the job.

And so, when we look at the typical job description, we often wonder why there isn’t anything on it about the people they are going to be working with, how conflicts are mitigated, and what employees like to do in their spare time.

Although it might seem a little odd to consider talking about employee’s favorite activities outside of work, we have to remember that in many cases today, the skills required to do the job may not be as significant a differentiator as the culture and the experience while at work.

But during an interview, how do we get a full understanding of what the experience at work is like? Especially in larger companies, how is it that we know what lives employees live both inside and outside of work? Does HR really know the experience of all of the departments and the people in it?

In some cases, maybe not.

A question that we believe is very important in the recruiting process is to ask the recruiter if it is possible to have a 30-minute coffee with an individual who is already in the position. And for employers, offering an opportunity for the potential hire to have a conversation with an existing employee already in that position is a great idea for a few reasons:

  1. They will give authentic responses.
  2. There will be a better sense of trust developed.
  3. The responses will be more accurate, as they will be coming from someone who is living the experience.
  4. They may realize there is a good sense of fit.
  5. They may realize there is no fit at all.

While it seems like understanding there isn’t a fit is a bad thing, it actually saves a lot of time and money. To get a better understanding of not only the job that needs to be done and the skills associated with it, but the people as well, it is very important.

In our findings, we’ve seen that there is an increased need to have a sense of belonging and fit in the work that we are doing. As we know, work isn’t something that is as transactional as it used to be, and we can take it places we wouldn’t have dreamed of even a few years ago—think emails in bed or conference calls in the car. The fact that work is so much ‘bigger’ than it used to be requires us to have a better understanding of what the experience entails. Getting a better idea on what the team dynamic is like, how they work together, and who they are outside of work is an important part in understanding if there is going to be a fit.

It seems to me that everything we have been doing, when it comes to technology and recruiting, is about speeding up and being ‘faster’ and ‘more efficient’ than we’ve been before. But through the work we’ve been doing at DRYVER, and seeing that workplace anxiety is going up, satisfaction is going down, and the need to feel a sense of belonging increasing, taking a few minutes to slow the process down and have a meaningful conversation between current and potential employee during the recruiting process can’t be understated.



Written by Eric Termuende

Eric Termuende is founder of the DRYVER Group., a consultancy focused on the the attraction and retention of top talent. In 2015, Eric was recognized as a Top 100 Emerging Innovators under 35 globally by American Express. He sat as Community Integration Chair for Global Shapers Calgary, a community that functions under the World Economic Forum. Eric is a former Canadian G20 YEA Delegate, representing Canada in Sydney in 2014. In 2016, Eric spoke at TEDxBCIT in Vancouver giving his presentation entitled ‘Bigger than Work’. Eric has worked and spoken with clients across the world for the National Speakers Bureau, and was VP Operations and Finance for the University of Calgary Students Union and Class Ambassador for his graduating class. Finally, Eric currently sits on the Vancouver Board of Trade Company of Young Professionals Board.

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