Simon Sinek's 2 Essential Interview Questions For Culture Fit

This morning I listened to Gary Vaynerchuk's podcast, The Ask Gary Vee Show #226* where he and his listeners interviewed Simon Sinek, the author of "Start With Why", "Leaders Eat Last" and "Together is Better".

The entire episode is worth listening to, however I'll save you time and cut to the most important segment about developing amazing company culture, when a listener asks a question that's on every #culturefirst founder's mind:

"How can I get my new employees to buy into my 'why'?"

This is one of the most challenging aspects of hiring and on-boarding. Often, once founders and business leaders have defined their company's"why", and their authentic values, vision and mission, they put them into a SOP handbook, or a slide deck, or maybe even some pretty wall decals or posters... and that's where they stay.

simon sinek, pointing out  that it all starts with "why"

simon sinek, pointing out  that it all starts with "why"

Being a #culturefirst company, and hiring and on-boarding for culture fit means integrating your "why", values, vision and mission into every step of the process. From the job posting, to the interview, to the first day, to the on-boarding and training process and beyond.

According to Simon Sinek, the easiest way to get employees to buy into your "why", is to hire people who "get it" from day one. As he says in the podcast "The greater you are at communicating your "why", people will want to work for you regardless of the opportunity you afford them. They'll want to be a part of it."

How do you know if you want them to be part of it?

Sinek uses what he calls the "give and take" method - where he looks for candidates who are almost equally selfish, and self-less. He argues that the traditional "give and get" method doesn't lead to candidates satisfying their own needs, and over time the relationship will become unbalanced; they're going to give without taking and you won't know how to give them what they truly want.

Sinek's two essential questions for ensuring that employees buy into their founder's, and company's "why" are:

a. What is it that you have to give to our organization that we will need?

b. What is it that you selfishly want from us?

According to Sinek, "When those things match, you have a balanced relationship." For example, if a candidate gives him a vague response such as that they want to "work with smart people" Sinek tells them that they can do that anywhere. If a candidate cannot specifically state what they want to take from his organization specifically, or the relationship, then he won't engage with them.

These two questions and the philosophy behind them should theoretically help you to hire people who have a passion for your company, their work, and most importantly, your "why", vision and values; the foundations of your company culture.

*Check out the Ask Gary Vee Show Episode #226 here.

#culturefirst always,

~Alexis