Want To Hire the Best People? Do this.

About a year ago, Mandy Len Catron, wrote and essay in the NYT, entitled, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This.”  She following a review of a study by psychologist Arthur Aron that explored whether intimacy between two strangers is accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions.  Aron created 36 questions, broken up into three sets, with each set intending to be more probing than the previous one.

The idea was that mutual vulnerability foster closeness.  The more I thought on this, the more I wondered, wouldn't employers who are not the beneficiaries of massive HR departments and equally massive personality tests, make better hiring decisions if they not only were able to check off job applicants key skill requirements.  But if they also were able to see key patterns associated with the development of an applicants' ability to establish, sustain, escalate, reciprocate and maintain relationships with other employees in a 45-minute interview.

The answer is simple: of course!  So, here are the questions:

Set One

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous?  In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say?  Why?
4. What would constitute a "perfect" day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself?  To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or the body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you have in common with this company?
9. For what in your life do you feel the most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell me about the story of your life in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or attribute, what would it be?

Set Two

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
15. What do you value most in a friendship?
16. What is your most treasured memory?
17. What is your most terrible memory?
18. What does friendship mean to you?
19. What role of work and commitment mean to you?
20. Together, we are going to share.  Based on what I know of you so far, I am going to share something I consider a positive characteristic of you.  And you are going to share something you consider a positive characteristic of this company with me.  We are going to do this five times.
21. How do you feel about your relationship with your Mother?  Father?

Set Three

22. Make three true "we" statements.  For instance, "We are both in this room feeling...?"
23. Complete this sentence: "In this job, I wish I had something or someone with whom I could share...?"
24. If we were to hire you, please share what would be important for us to know.
25. Tell me what you like about this company.  This time, be very honest, saying things that you might not say to someone you just met and who will be hiring you.
26. Share with me an embarrassing moment in your life?
27. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
28. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone?  Why haven't you told them yet?
29. Share a job-related interpersonal problem you have had in the past?  And reflect on why you chose that problem over others?