In an interview, you certainly want to understand whether or not a candidate is capable of handling the potential job duties on a daily basis. But you also want to know whether or not they will be a productive member of your team. Interview questions are usually designed to determine a person’s ability, but not their motivations. Here are a few questions you should be asking to gauge productivity in an interview:

  1. How do you define success? You want to know the philosophy behind what they want to achieve. If success is only based on material things, then it might not be a fulfilling, long-term vision. However, if they have a mindset where they are constantly driving toward success, they will likely stay productive as they achieve their goals.
  2. What are your favorite books on professional development? Like it or not, reading is fundamental. Employees who read, and who read things about personal development, are more likely to have a better understanding of what it takes to be a success in their careers. It doesn’t really matter which books they’ve read, but that they are willing to continue learning as they are working.
  3. How do you feel about being late? This will tell you a lot about how someone will respect you as a manager as well as the rest of the employees. A person who establishes a pattern of being late will have a lot of trouble staying productive in their jobs.
  4. What was the biggest professional mistake you’ve ever made and how did you handle it? Everyone makes mistakes. What matters is not what they did wrong, but how they handled the entire situation. What did they learn? How did they solve the problem? What happened next?
  5. What motivates you on the job? You also want to get inside their heads and determine what keeps them motivated every day. What makes them get up in the morning and come to work? Motivational factors will tell you a lot about how someone will fit into your current team and if they are compatible.

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