Interviewing with New Purpose: The 5 Interview Questions I’d Like to Ask


We have an engagement crisis in today’s world of work. According to recent research, the majority of our employees do not feel a real connection with their work. I find this both alarming and incredibly disheartening. However, the question remains: How might we rectify this epidemic? I do feel that we have the tools (tests, assessments, etc.) and knowledge base to move forward — but our mindset has yet to catch up with the pressing need. The proof is there — we just need to “breathe deeply” and process the information.

We must provide more opportunities for honest conversation. More sharing — more trust — more exploration into what really connects an employee with their work. We need to lay it all out openly and discuss what really matters. No gimmicks. No excuses. We simply need to examine what makes us tick and embrace whatever that might be.

This type of “career transparency” can begin with the interviewing process. To impact this staggering lack of engagement, we need to interview with new-found purpose. This means using the interview platform as an opportunity to discover information that might directly impact future levels of engagement. In particular, we might probe areas that have been linked with higher levels of engagement: Feeling valued, appropriate feedback and support, and how to sustain directed, energized effort.

Here are the questions that I’d like to ask:

  1. What elements of your work energize you?
  2. What kind of performance feedback (specificity, frequency) is most useful to you?
  3. What type of supervision helps you to become maximally effective?
  4. How does the role we are discussing align with your strengths?
  5. If you could implement one innovation (or idea) within our industry, what would that be?

What questions might you ask? Share them.

Special thanks to one of my readers Dave Erikson ( The 10 Career Questions I’d like to Ask Just About Everyone), whose comment motivated me to write this post.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist. She also writes for Linkedin and US News & World Report.

8 thoughts on “Interviewing with New Purpose: The 5 Interview Questions I’d Like to Ask

  1. James. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I agree with you – enhancing employee engagement is a key factor in both healthy and productive workplaces. I hope to explore this premise further. I look forward to hearing about your start-up experience.


  2. Dr Gottschalk – this is a great problem to be solved. An analogy is useful here: before I signed-up with with a personal fitness trainer last year, I thought I had been working with the intensity of 7-8 out of 10. He made me realise that I had only been working at 1-2 out of 10 (I also realised that begging isn’t effective in getting fitness trainers to show mercy!). About the same time, I took the bold step of a career change: to start-up a company. I have never felt more alive since – the sense of satisfaction comes from being incredibly motivated and productive all the time (like “falling in love”, it’s difficult to relate what this feels like without first hand experience). I come to two assertions. One, lifting employee engagement would deliver more productivity gain than anything else management can focus on – imagine boosting employee productivity two or three-fold? Two, people are cheating themselves when they are not 100% disengaged, not just the employer. I look forward to reading the ideas on your blog.


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