Is the Candidate You’re Interviewing Committed to the Mission?

Jan 6, 2020

Josh Fried, head of Waze Carpool, insists the key to high-performing teams is each team member is fully committed to the company mission. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to tell if candidates are dedicated to your company’s mission until they’re an established part of your team.

Once hired, however, it’s already too late. Your team is susceptible to decreased productivity, morale, and retention. To ensure you’re maintaining high-performing teams, you must discover if candidates are prepared to commit to your mission from interview No. 1.

Your mission is undoubtedly composed of many moving parts and each element resonates with employees on different levels. In the same way, candidates need the opportunity to show where they connect on the deepest level with your mission.

Break your mission down into digestible bits based on feedback from your current team. Rather than having your employees recite the mission, ask them to describe the mission in their own words. Look for clues of what has the biggest impact on each team member.

For example, Warby Parker’s mission statement is, “To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.” Warby Parker follows through with this mission by striving to help everyone see clearly. To do this, the company partners with nonprofits, like VisionSpring. For every pair of glasses sold, another pair is distributed to a person in need.

While some candidates may not be excited to offer fashionable eyewear at a revolutionary price, their motivational alliance could lie with socially-conscious businesses. By visually and verbally breaking down your mission statement for candidates during the first interview, you open the door for deeper insights.

Craft mission-focused questions

The first interview is filled, rightfully, with critical evaluation questions. You’re tasked with confirming if the candidate meets the role’s qualifications, if they’re the right cultural match, and even predicting if they’ll remain at the company for the long-haul.

It can be overwhelming to consider adding another category of questions. However, mission-focused questions simplify the hiring process. They address many of the details needed in the initial interview. Even better, they help you more accurately evaluate if a candidate will become a dedicated, high-performing member of your team.

Craft questions to show how well candidates understand your mission and if they’re already connected to it. Take IKEA’s vision statement, for example, “To create a better everyday life for the many people.” Reaching this vision is accomplished through their greater mission of “…offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”

Questions revealing if candidates are committed to this statement would include:

  • What does creating a better everyday life for people mean to you?
  • Why are you passionate about creating a better everyday life for others?
  • How would your influence in this role positively impact the lives of others?

Determine if goals align

Your current employees already have their goals in place. Every one of their goals helps the company reach an overarching goal. To achieve true end-goals, high-performing teams need new hires to be passionate about and dedicated to contributing to the success of the company from day one.

Before outlining the team’s goals with candidates, ask them to detail their own career goals. Why do they believe this role aligns with their career goals? What do they hope to accomplish if hired? Where do they see themselves in your company at this time next year?

If it seems their goals are on track with the company’s vision, discuss how their plans and desired accomplishments fit within the company’s current mission.

Dig into their passions

A candidate’s passions can shine a light into their future potential. This can’t be revealed through background and reference checks. It can only be accomplished during their first interview with a few simple but telling questions.

In order to understand what excites them about and adheres them toyour mission, ask questions divulging what experiences in their life and career impacted their decision to apply to your open role.

Is there a specific life or career event that helps them understand your company mission on a deeper level? What experiences ignited their passion for your mission? Use candidates’ responses to ask more detailed questions regarding the company mission.

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