Interviewing for Curiosity

by | Jun 16, 2022 | Leadership

In my last blog, The Competency of Curiosity, I talked about increasing curiosity in your organization as a key competency with your team. Now I want to discuss how you hire for curiosity.   

Curiosity traits to look for:   

  • They are natural learners.  
  • They have a learning strategy.   
  • They grow bored with routine and conforming.   
  • They welcome change and don’t fear it.   
  • They think outside of the box to solve problems and create effectiveness.  
  • They value creativity and innovation.   
  • They ask lots of questions.    

I see so many leaders get frustrated when their team members ask a lot of questions, but curious people will ask a lot of questions. They want to know why we do things the way we do them. How did we start doing it that way? Is that still the best way? Why, why, why? It’s like when you have little kids. When my kids were young, they’d always ask, “why daddy? Why? Daddy, why?” Don’t get frustrated with them! They grow up to be curious people and can lead you to innovative, new, better ideas.   

Tips for interviewing for curiosity:  

  1. Determine if they value different perspectives.   

Ask for examples of when they’ve challenged others’ thinking. How did they approach it? What was the outcome? Ask about something new that they’ve learned? Did they share it with peers? What was the outcome? Curious people challenge the status quo. They want to evolve and innovate, so ask them about when they took the initiative to create a new process. What did they learn? What’s a great environment for you to do that? These are important questions to ask when interviewing for curiosity.   

  1. They take new approaches when problem-solving.   

Look for evidence that shows they take different approaches when problem-solving. What’s a recent obstacle they faced professionally? How did they overcome it? What was the result? What did they learn?   

These are common themes to look for during the hiring process. If they can’t come up with crisp examples, they probably lack curiosity. Is curiosity a key trait we’re looking for in this role? Or do we need an executor? We have a lot of awesome executors at Service Express, and they are valued and get a lot of stuff done.   

In my opinion, the higher you go up on the leadership chain, the more curious you should be. The further up you go, the further away you get from executing daily. Instead, you spend more time strategizing, forward-thinking and determining where to go and how to get there.   

Be intentional about the positions and competencies you’re looking for when interviewing. If curiosity is one of them, hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas to think about and questions to ask to determine if your candidate would be a good fit. 

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About Me

I am the President & CEO of Service Express, a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Service Express has averaged double digit growth every year since 2001.

We attribute our success to a unique corporate culture that we call The Service Express Way. I am a member of the Young President Organization and sit on the Board of the Spectrum Health Foundation.