Is This the Key Interview Question for Employers?

Is This the Key Interview Question for Employers?


  • Finding the right person for a role can be difficult. Not only do you have to find someone that is qualified and has adequate experience, but you need to ensure they're the right fit for your team.
  • Choosing the right person for a role also depends on the qualities you seek in an employee.  It could be self-motivation, professional development, work ethic - which qualities do you value most as an employer?
  • Behavioural questions are a key interview tactic you can use to get to know your candidates and how they approach real-life problems. Keep reading to learn more.

You are looking for staff and want to sort a bunch of candidates fast. You've advertised the role and have received a good field of applications, and you manage to narrow down the list to just five or so for an interview.

You know you need a proactive person for the role so you ask this question:

"What did you do during the COVID-19 lockdown?"

Some of you will say, sure that's a starting point question that might give some insight, but will it make a difference to how I get to know this candidate?

Well, that depends. Some candidates may answer with, "I sat and watched a lot of TV and went for the occasional walk", while others will be able to spell out the personal and professional development they did by reading, taking online courses and perhaps watching documentaries on business or engaging personal topics.

Remember, it really depends on what you are looking for in an employee - in this case, a go-getter. So what makes a ‘go-getter’?

What does it mean to be a go-getter?

A go-getter is someone that works hard and strives for success in everything they do. Some traits of a go-getter include:

  • They are self-motivated and set their own goals both personally and professionally
  • They are deeply interested in the role - it’s their area of expertise and they have a lot of professional insight and knowledge to offer
  • They seek out professional development - they pursue professional development when the opportunity arises, e.g. attending seminars and workshops
  • They have shown interest in progressing - either in the role or in the industry.

They may also have contacted you about the advert and sought extra information - and not just about the remuneration package. A go-getter wants to know about how big the company is, how many staff you have and what sort of work is really entailed.

During World War II my father did online correspondence courses to add to his skills, post-war he landed into a new role with training added, he became a draftsman and went on to become an engineer. His go-getter attitude got him places. Many of his mates said they wished they had done the same. Many of them sat back and ‘twiddled their thumbs’ waiting for the war to end.

Post-war some of those guys got menial jobs, some went into training for new roles. Either way, they were a bit behind others that thought a bit beyond the war, like my father.

What qualities are you looking for in an employee?

Think carefully about what you want in a recruit and how you will explore this and other behavioural questions to get the right person to fill the role. A go-getter is one thing, but how will they fit into your team?

Will they:

  • Want to fit in and communicate easily with the other staff?
  • Be a smart alec that puts people offside early on and never recovers?
  • Be a micromanager who wants things done their way only?
  • Be the sort of person who looks good on paper but the referee check says otherwise?
  • Expect too much too soon?

To overcome some of these challenges it can pay to interview face to face twice, plus the initial phone chat. That’s three interactions that give you an opportunity to gain a solid insight into what they are like.

Let’s face it, it’s never easy to interview and get all of the right information, but it’s all about starting points and getting the chance to explore the person, the role and how they might fit into it.

As a last resort, there’s always the probation period. However, I hope you will coach and mentor your new recruit to be fantastically successful right up to the end of the probation period if for no other reason than to save you the time, money and hassle of having to find another person for the role. 

Steve Gray

Director at Gray Capital Investments

You're in business, you want to win, not fail, you want success not struggles. You have an idea, you have spent a lot of money and time getting started but now what! Get a strategy in place, develop a plan, call me and get an outsiders view on what you are doing well and what needs to happen next. In the meantime check the articles on my websites. - - Get the E book - Simple Business by Steve Gray - You went into business, now make it really work for you.