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Conversation With An IT Manager... I Only Want To Recruit Those With Jobs

2013 Best Interview Question... What Do You Want?

What do you want

I have been recruiting for 15+ years and my phone calls/screens and interviews have changed very little... mine is a friendly conversation style and not at all like a traditional interview.

No “tell me a time when” questions.

And no “gotcha” questions.

I don’t have a series of questions I ask everyone. I don’t have “check boxes”.

More like baking a cake from scratch. I know what is needed but each time things are a little different.

Choose your adventure may be a better way to describe it.

This year I started asking a very basic question and one that until the past 18 months or so I could not answer well or at least not with conviction:

What do you want?

Not as in the usual five years from now where do you see yourself type of a question but a sincere, serious and fundamental question.

Can you answer it?

Late 2011 to early 2013 was a challenging time for me personally and professionally and forced me to really look inside myself.

It was a time and process that helped further define and really remind me of what I really want.

So when I ask this question I get some fascinating answers that range from that long awkward silence (most of the time) to a well thought out you know they know what they want (very rare).

Others give some sort of canned response with a bunch of fluff to which I reply with:

OK, but want do you really want?

(cue long awkward silence)

It’s OK not to know and it’s OK to be figuring it out.

Back to this as an interview question... I share with folks the “process” I went through.

What it does is it helps candidates understand and know more about me and me about them. I think we need more “relationship” in recruiting... not less.

It also gets them to think about if what I am presenting to them gets them there… to where they want to go.

As “hiring managers” we spend so much time trying to figure out what candidates want. Why not just ask?

Sure salary matters but is my company/client, what we are about, is what we do and how we do it in alignment with them?

Then there is the cool stuff… the stories you get to get hear.

And on occasion when someone says something like:

  • I want to bill 55-60 hours a week for 8 months of the year so I can go to Thailand and backpack for 4 months.
  • I want to retire my parents
  • I want my job, my output to be meaningful to others

I stop and think about what I want… and am I doing what it takes to get it, to get there.

Or the best from last week… a link from a Project Manager I spoke with in January who said he wanted to start a family. Turns out his wife was already pregnant and I received a Facebook link to a photo album of his newborn daughter. That’s the good stuff.

What do you want?

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