What should you look for if you want to hire people with high integrity?
By Nick Murphy
We could probably all do with taking a little business advice from Warren Buffett. After all, the successful business magnate and investor is the second-wealthiest person in the United States with a net worth of more than $73 billion as of May 2017. With that in mind, you would be right to assume that Buffett knows a thing or two about the hiring process and how to hire the right person to contribute to your overall business success.
The Buffett Hiring Philosophy
Integrity is one essential personal skill Buffett has spoken of seeking out in employees.
According to Buffett, integrity in an individual breeds trustworthiness, which is of paramount importance when placing your business in a newcomer’s hands.
So, how do you know if you are hiring people with high integrity?
Forget the usual ‘strengths and weaknesses’ interview questions. Instead, try asking your job candidates these five unusual questions. You’re more likely to get candid responses that will speak volumes about the applicant sitting in front of you.
- If you could have dinner with anyone from throughout history, who would it be and why?
This may seem like a dinner party conversation starter, but it will also tell you a lot about a job candidate, who they admire and what interests them. It’s also a question many interviewees won’t be expecting, so their answer will more than likely be from the heart. Take note of job candidates say they who value strong, democratic leaders throughout history or those who have worked their way to the top of their field with integrity and modesty. These are the people you will want working for you.
- Why shouldn’t I hire you?
Interviewees are generally expecting the opposite question, “Why should I hire you?” But this is a curveball that will get a truly off-the-cuff response. Expect a slightly nervous laugh or awkward silence, but whatever follows could be truly telling of the candidate’s history, weaknesses and most importantly, integrity.
- Explain a disagreement you’ve had with a past colleague.
This interview question can be uncomfortable to answer for many, but is an important one for employers to ask. The answer will give you some much-needed insight into the temperament of your interviewee, how they handle conflict in the workplace and how they resolve disputes.
Knowing this early on will help you choose the right individual who will seamlessly fit into your place of work and show integrity when it is most needed.
- What is your biggest motivator in your job search?
Everyone needs to work to make money, but the reasons for furthering your career shouldn’t be purely financial. The response this interview question provokes can help you find employees who aren’t motivated by a paycheck alone. Candidates who say they strive for success and career progression, value happiness at work and consider themselves team players are people who know it takes hard work, integrity and trust to achieve these professional goals.
- Why are you looking to leave your current job?
This is another potentially uncomfortable question and not one an employer may think to ask in an interview prior to checking supplied references. But a candidate’s response can be telling.
If an interviewee says she’s leaving her current employer to seek new opportunities for professional advancement and career growth, great! This suggests she is a hard-worker who is willing to put in the hard yards for success.
Listen for negative replies to this interview question, too. If a candidate says he is leaving his current job due to a workplace conflict or he complains about coworkers or supervisors, this could be a red flag. You may want to scrutinize this applicant more closely.
Nick Murphy is the host of The Job Lab Podcast, an NFL veteran, experienced HR Tech entrepreneur, father of five, speaker and frequent contributor on topics related to jobs and careers.