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Does Your Candidate Have "Purpose?" - The Difference Between Good and Great Candidates

Throughout the interview process, hiring managers try to get to know their candidates as well as possible. Asking great interview questions and checking references are all part of the drill. One element that hiring managers overlook is getting a candidate to define his or her core purpose.

In Roy M. Spence Jr's, "It's Not What You Sell, It's What Your Stand For" he defines purpose as "a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world". Johnson & Johnson defines their company's purpose as: To alleviate pain and suffering, Merck: To gain victory against disease and help mankind, Disney: to use our imaginations to bring happiness to millions. Studies have confirmed that cultures based on shared values significantly outperformed firms with weak, values-neutral cultures. Much like a company, an individual must have and be able to illustrate a core purpose throughout the interview.

A core purpose is the individual's fundamental reason for choosing a specific career path. An effective purpose reflects the importance an individual attaches to his or her work - it taps idealistic motivations - and gets at the deeper reasons for an individual to choose a specific career beyond just making money. 

Ask yourself this question, did the candidate you just interviewed adequately define his or her core purpose?

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