Try Giving a Crap

Written by Damian Sicely

Damian is the lead and creator of values-based recruitment for professionals at Agoge Recruitment. Having been in recruitment for over 10 years, he’s run a private training establishment (PTE), completed an MBA and remained an awesome Dad with a slightly above average sense of humour. Outside of work he builds his sanity by spending his time with family and riding his cruiser when the weather permits.

Why giving a crap makes a difference in interviews


We want the best talent!

We want the 10% of the best performers!

We want to ask you questions about when you’ve smashed your records so that we can have you doing that for us!


Then when we get you on board, we are going to expect you deliver on all those answers! Or by the might of Zeus you’ll be out on your ass!


90 days!? Pfft, I’ll have you burnt out in 30!

However, we value people and we have an amazing culture…

Well, it is when you perform at your 100% best, all the time, like you told me you could in your interview!

If you can’t handle this, then move on and we’ll take someone else through these shallow questions.


Rinse, repeat and fail again…


Interviews need to go deep! Not paddle in the shallowness of a KPI’s


Organisations that struggle with retention, performance and culture commonly have interview questions that are focused on the candidates trying to impress them.  A lot of these types of questions are leading for someone to get into ‘sell mode’ and tell you all the glamorous reasons to “pick me, pick me!“.

Don’t get me wrong, these questions have their place and you should ask them. You need to ensure that you are getting people on board that are capable of completing the task and have the right experience/skills (that’s actually the easy part). Performance does matter and seeing/hearing the achievements of the person you’re going to hire will help you determine SOME of the things they may be able to do.

What I’m trying to say is that there are so. many. more. important questions that you need to ask to find that perfect fit!


We’re hiring people, not a set of #@&*!%@ tools!


If you want to find the right person for your organisation then start asking the right questions. Values are the ingredients that make us function as decent humans. Aligning and giving people the permission to live their values can create a powerful synergy in organisations that will help you out perform those that don’t.

Don’t believe me?!

I don’t need stats because it’s common #@&*!%@ sense! If people are happier in their place of work they will feel more compelled to do their best, to commit and perform.

If people are getting crushed by targets that realistically only 1% of your employees have accomplished, ever, then you are going to demotivate and devalue your people.

All of this starts with the people you hire and the way you do it, if you want a set of tools ask the same results driven questions that could be answered by a machine. If you want someone that performs well and adds true value, then ask a healthy combination of both performance and values-based questions.


How do you do this?!


If you want to discover who a person is, sit down with them in a comfortable setting and structure the interview in a way that you are both talking about yourselves (commonly known as a conversation).

Introduce yourself and share things about you that you would like to hear from them like:

  • Where are you from?
  • How long you been doing this?
  • Why do you do it?

Don’t ask anything about their performance until you get to know them (chances are they will bring this up anyhow). Be different and ask things like:

  • What do you truly value?
  • What makes you happiest at work?
  • What are your passions?

Talk to them like you are potentially meeting a new friend, because if it’s the right person, you likely are.


Focus on the right outcomes of knowledge about that person because you need to understand who they are and what they value by the end of the conversation. Asking questions that allow them permission to dig deep into reflecting on who they really are and why they behave in certain ways will give you an idea if they fit with your teams’ values (not commonly the values on the wall).

Performance and achievement information will come easily and more naturally once you get to know someone. Often people will talk about the greatest thing they did for their company and not the difficulty they went through to get there. The better you know someone the more they will open up about what drove them to achieve these results and you will be able to determine whether you can foster an environment for them to be amazing!

If you are the type of person that struggles to understand this in people, it’s OK! There are others that know how to do this extremely well and they will stand out in your team, include them in the interview process or at a second interview.


To wrap up the rant


The secret to getting someone on board is to understand that we are human! If you are looking for that perfect person by interviewing and focusing on questions that will draw out a person’s flaws, you’ll find plenty!

If you focus on getting to know the person behind the achievements and truly understand who they are as a human, you’ll be able to understand if they fit with you and your team, where their strengths lie and how they will achieve greatness!





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