Projective questions

Today we want to briefly talk about how to check someone’s motivational factors during the interview

When you invite someone to a job interview, what would you usually check? His/her knowledge, experience, and skills – what he/she can actually do.

But the interesting thing is to check if he would want to do it in your team.

It is understandable that during the interview a person is usually interested in getting a job. Therefore, if you shell clearly describe, how the work is done at your place, and ask: “Do you want it?” — the answer will be: “Yes, sure.” Money are still important, right?

It does not always work. At the interview a person can adjust. And we want to check, if he/she would really work or wouldn’t?

How it’s done?

There is a very simple technique, which is called “Projective questions technique.” We are not going to go very deep into psychology, it’s important to get some practical effect and to implement this practice in our interviews ASAP.

What is “projection”?

Here’s a simple example. Let’s say you go to a birthday party and do not know what present to give. For example, it’s a man’s birthday. What would you give him? You know, there are popular versions on what men like and what women like. For example, I usually assume, that I need to give something, that I’d like to receive as a gift for myself. This is the projection. So, I project my wishes on man’s wishes. He may want something absolutely different. For example, I collect coins and he likes fishing. I give him a gold or silver coin — depending on money in the pocket — and I’d think it’s a great gift. Maybe, he’d even be happy for some time — till he realizes it’s not a lure.

When we don’t know the clear-cut answer, and when there isn’t a right answer we start to get something out of our heads.

Here’s the simplest example of interview’s projective question. Funny story from recruiter’s practice.

During a job interview to work in a bank one girl was asked: “How do you think, why people keep actively working, even when the boss is not at work?”

There are several possible answers. Someone says: “What do you mean, why? Because they have interesting jobs, everyone knows what to do, because they are motivated” — that’s the first bunch of answers. Second bunch: “Well, the work will be checked later anyway.” How do you think, who’d work more independently?

The girl absolutely distinguished herself in the interview. She said: “There are cameras everywhere.” And if the cameras are gone, would she work or not? We don’t know…

Projective questions — it’s when you ask question not about a specific person, but about a matter in general. “How do you think, why people stay on the same workplace for seven years?” The answer can be “They don’t develop”, “They don’t want to grow”, “They cannot find a new job” — and here you get the idea, that in your stable conditions, when you need someone who’d steadily work for seven years, your interviewee will not really get accustomed. Or you get an answer: “They have a good team, normal stable operation, no hassles, pain-in-the-necks, and emergencies…”

That’s one example of projective questions

Second example. You may ask a man: “How do you think, what is a perfect project?” Let’s say, he answers: “Well. It’s when we have continuous changes, something new happens all the time, everyone are moving somewhere, running around, you know?” it’s one answer. Or there may be other version: “It’s when everything is functioning like a single well-oiled machine, all processes are efficient, all tasks are explicitly stated, everything is calm and predictable.” Depending on the answer you may understand, whether the person would be comfortable in your team or not.

Projective question is a “general” question. It doesn’t have a right answer. Depending on the answer you may understand if a person fits your business activity or not, if he/she would be comfortable in your team or not.

To solidify this practice try to write few projective questions. Right now put away this article and writhe these questions for your own good. Use them in the nearest interview. And if you are currently not involved in the interviews, simply hone this practice. One day it could come in handy.

Alexander Orlov

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