A vital question to ask at interview

Job Interview Redux | Lewis Minor https://flic.kr/p/89CJjj

A vital question to ask at interview

If you interview people for positions in your business, what do you really want to know? What are your key questions that give the person you are interviewing the opportunity to show themselves, and to give you the insight into who they are and the approach they offer?

When a business employs someone, they are not taking on an accountant, a sales person, a driver or any other role. A business employs a thinking, feeling, acting person and all that these imperatives imply. On the basis that reaching interview stage means that the interviewee has the necessary qualifications, it is now to find out about the person. Someone I know well who ran very successful teams in the corporate world hand picked his people by getting to know them outside of the formal interview.

We can easily discover what someone does. But how do they do it and why? What lies beneath the surface? As it is when a patient (a person) arrives expecting and hoping for solutions to their pain points, you must get to know the person beyond their condition because of the uniqueness with which they style their response. The problem is the problem, but how are they dealing with it? Who are they and what is it about them that means this problem is so significant in their life? It is never enough to reduce it down to a body part or end organ.

The healthy business organism

The employer and the employee are entwined and inseparable. They need each other. The health of both are inextricably linked.

A business can be thought of as a living organism, alive only by measure of the aliveness of its people. I saw a quote in a coffee shop that simply said, ‘Places don’t make great coffee, people do’. It’s not a business that makes success, it’s the people. Without people there is no business. How are your people?

Low engagement appears to be a feature of the times. To address this issue we need to ask the right questions, such as: how can we build engagement? How can we ensure that our people feel valued and are serving a purpose?

Consider the entwined nature of being, or interdependence. It is for the individual to discover their purpose within the business or organisation. We all have one. The business then must allow for expression of this purpose for the person to get into flow and feel that they are contributing to something greater than themselves. This is a distinctly healthy state.

The challenge is to articulate and live by one’s purpose. It matters not where you work for this to be at the forefront: a doctor delivering her best advice and treatment to improve lives, a cleaner ensuring a thoroughness that means the street is one people enjoy to pass along, a driver who prioritises paint full attention to what he is doing to maximise comfort and safety for his passengers. We can each find our purpose.

For growth and development of the business organism, the potential employee must be healthy and well. This leads on to the vital question.

The question is…

‘How do you look after yourself?’


If you like, pause and consider how you look after yourself

Why is this so important? Because this person is potentially to become part of the organism. They will add to the business according to the extent of their aliveness. This is an on-going process, day-to-day, reliant upon ‘how they are’. Who shows up each day?

On a simple level, consider the state of the business when employees turn up as their best selves, energised, engaged and excited. What is likely to happen? Now consider the opposite. What kind of environment does your business create through its leadership?

To know how the candidate looks after him or herself is to know whether they will bring energy the majority of the time.

Looking after yourself

Whilst not comprehensive this includes the basics such as being active, eating well, and adequate sleep. Beyond this are time and energy management each day, the connections we make with others and ourselves, and the approach we take to the inevitable ups and downs. To be well is a skill and we must practice certain habits each day. This is no different to how we look after our teeth by brushing two to three times a day from a young age.

You may choose certain clothes and style your hair a particular way to appear smart and professional. But what are you feeling inside and what are you putting into yourself each day in terms of dietary choices?

We are encouraged to seek quick fixes and meet our needs in the short term. That is the modern culture, yet often these options fly in the face of what we actually need. The encouragement to focus on individual desires also clashes with the need to connect resulting in feelings of isolation and loneliness that have become prevalent and a source of inflammatory suffering. These are several examples of ‘life-itis’, where ‘itis’ refers to biological inflammation. This is the healing process accompanied by a protective need state that often features pain.

Many of the inflamed states that we see in the clinic are the normal response to a threat. However, the problem lies not in the response but in the repeated perception of danger via the loss of the discriminative ability to determine real versus possible versus no threat. In turn, this results in the common ills seen frequently in the clinic, contributed to by the so-called quick fixes (e.g. drugs, alcohol, passive treatments) and avoidance of facing our real needs in life. Pain is the classic example. This is not a medical issue. It is a social problem that we can choose to address. More on this to come from me.

The size of the problem

This is a very brief insight into a complex issue that is embedded within the modern world. There are reasons why chronic health now affects 45% of the US population. It is estimated that 28 million people suffer chronic pain (BPS, 2016) and 26 million people suffer chronic diseases or long term conditions (NHS England). With so many affected, and these are the ‘known’ figures, there is an inevitable effect on the economy and business. Then there are those who keep going, in a state of survive for a host of reasons, both present and past. They are not achieving peak performance, instead just getting by. How much better can we do?


The key message here is that business is about the living, breathing, thinking, feeling, acting people. They make the organism. The health of the organism determines the outcomes, with the individual daily decisions and habits of wellness a key factor. Peak performance relies on these. This is why the vital question is: ‘how do you look after yourself?’.


Pain Coach for individuals and business

  • What is the cost of pain to your business?
  • What are your pain points?
  • How can you go from pain to purpose?
  • How can you create an environment for the business organism to thrive from the individual to the group
  • How can I look after myself?

And much more…

email: [email protected]

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