Why You Want Employees Who Act Like 2-Year-Olds


As professionals, we’re always looking for innovative ways to interview potential employees to help reduce our turnover rates and to get the real picture of each individual’s talents. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to go through the painful task of interviewing, hiring, educating, then relocating or even firing a person whom I’ve held such high hopes for.

Even those who don’t know me well will tell you I’m an extreme perfectionist, which, as you can imagine, is rarely a delight for an employee (especially new blood). So in true fashion, I set out to solve the great employee retention mystery once and for all, and I came up with one word: why.

I believe that very few things in our society today are due to chance nearly everything can be tracked back to some cause, however small. Things don’t appear out of thin air; people don’t commonly say things they don’t think or feel; and virtually nothing just is. I now only care to discuss employment with those who not only ask, but who truly care, why.

Why takes you from a random face online to curiosity about why you’re both looking in the same place, finding they have a similar profession and noticing you could possibly help one another. Acceptance doesn’t notice the face, doesn’t ask why it’s there, and gives and receives no help at the end of the day. Who wins? Not the random face you found online and certainly not your company.


I now encourage current employees to think through the process rather than providing the answer myself, send out weekly critical thinking challenges to complete as a team and publicly commend those who dig deeper to get results.

New hire interviews focus more on the person’s curiosity than their actual answers. I might give a purposefully vague explanation because I’m looking for interviewees to say, “Can you tell me more about that so I can better understand?” Or, “Could you share with me why you took that route?” Cutting right to the chase and saying, “Tell me something you’ve taught yourself over the past year” or asking, “How have you pushed yourself to be better in the last six months” is also effective.

There is no magic question (and for goodness sake, don’t ask any of the latest psychological garbage about which animal they’d choose to be), but in my experience, an employee who will relentlessly ask why is one you’re likely to never let go.

Photos courtesy of www.ertata.ru and istock photo.

Posted by: