Three New Killer Interview Questions

A study by LinkedIn Talent Solutions and Imperative found that Purpose-Oriented professionals around the world more satisfied in their jobs and expect to stay in them longer. The study builds on previous research by Imperative with NYU that showed the overwhelming advantages to hiring people who define their careers primarily around impact and fulfillment and growth.

Hiring purpose-oriented people is now a clear imperative for high performing teams and organisations. So, how do you screen for purpose in an interview to assess the likelihood that someone is Purpose-Oriented and likely to be a better hire and colleague?

Here are three questions you can use to begin to spot people who are oriented to work for the right reasons. No one question is definitive but together they provide a pretty clear understanding of a candidate’s orientation to work and therefore their likely success.

1. If you could retire tomorrow, what would you do?

Purpose-oriented people view work as being about making an impact and don’t just work for money, recognition or status. As a result they tend to envision retirement as being an opportunity to continue to make an impact and grow as people. If they suddenly didn’t have to work, they would still work in some capacity to challenge themselves and help others.

2. Who are you still close to from each of your previous jobs?

Purpose-oriented people have stronger relationships at work and are more authentic. They tend to see coworkers as friends and value them beyond their transactional value. As a result, they are more likely to stay in touch with them after their leave a job.

3. Walk me through the major decisions you have made in your career and what drove you to make each decision?

Purpose-oriented people tend to make major career decisions (e.g. changing jobs) because they are seeking greater opportunities to make an impact, to have new challenges or build stronger relationships. They are less likely to be motivated to make changes due to money or promotions.

Note: A single negative response to any of these questions is not proof that someone isn’t Purpose-Oriented, but a pattern emerges with most candidates across the three questions which gives you a pretty clear sense for the role of work in their lives.

To learn how you can screen for purpose and welcome amazing purpose-oriented sales talent into your organisation, visit Hire On Purpose


Aaron Hurst is a globally recognised social entrepreneur who works to create communities that are empowered to realise their potential. He is the CEO of Imperative, a B Corp advocating for Purpose-Oriented Workers and supporting the organisations that embrace them.

Widely known for his thought leadership, he is the author of The Purpose Economy (2014) and a regular advisor and thought partner for many global brands. He has written for or been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg TV and was named a LinkedIn Influencer. He is the author of Fast Company's Purposeful CEO profile series.

Image Credit: The Matrix movie, 1999, Warner Bros