There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions

Since we talked about the Traits of Remarkable Employees last time–and what a great response, thank you–let’s add one additional article to the Human Resource side.  Even though this article is about questions when hiring an employee (or answering as an applicant), self-employed individuals should also address these three questions.

 There are three questions to ask an employee, or yourself as either a self-employed individual, and even managers of themselves:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you love the job?
  3. Can we tolerate working with you?

Can You Do the Job?

Skill sets and experience are initial primary requirements when considering applying for a position.  You would be amazed at the number of applicants I have seen over several decades now (and remember I was Chief Economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University until moving to Stewart in 1997), that simply did not have the education or experience set to do the required job.  Do everyone a favor and set your aspirations aside and do not pursue a position you have no abilities to deliver on—despite your own perceptions.  If the position requires statistics, for example, that does not merely mean you need to know the RBIs or yards per carry of certain athletes (and no kidding—some in the past thought that was adequate for a research position in economics and real estate requiring a statistical background). 

Will You Love the Job?

Loving a job means that you do not plan to leave at the next best offer—even if that is a week after being hired (or as a self-employed individual or independent contractor—the next hot business opportunity makes you leave the industry}.  Airplanes do holding patterns in bad weather waiting to land, and if that is the case in why you either took a position or are doing what you are doing today, you should be honest with yourself and your employer, and admit to them or you that on the next opportunity you will depart.

Loving a job does not mean you get ecstatic about everything you do (and for me, earnings release days taking all of the calls from analysts and shareholders, despite whether we exceeded, matched or missed analyst expectations, is an arduous task).  But it does mean that you are willing to take on all of the components of the job—good and bad—and excel in the way you do those tasks.  

Can We Tolerate Working With You?

I probably cannot even count the number of individuals that were so talented, had so many great skill sets, that loved their job, but also were a person who no one can work with because of the way they respond to others.  Wow.  You would think that delivery of results alone is adequate—and under certain circumstances that is true.  When given an alternative, however, they are intolerable.  And unfortunately, some people are intolerable even in the best of times. 

My Dad is a sheep rancher that had developed the premier fine-wool sheep genetics in the U.S. (proven by his wool clip value, Texas A&M Ram Test Performance over several years and demand for rams from other ranchers across the U.S.).   He always extensively culled the flock to keep the best ewes and rams.  In recent years, however, the severe drought in Texas caused him even to cull the previous keepers.   Sound familiar?  In good times we accept performance—but in trying times even that previously accepted performance is unacceptable. 

No matter how good you are, if the required maintenance or negative effects a person gives off exceeds their contribution to a business, they are culls. Good times and bad times.

Three True Job Interview Questions–Resources

This phenomenal article has several quotes and links from recruiting industry gurus—including Bill Guy, CEO and President of Cornerstone International Group—one of the world’s largest human resources consulting groups.   I had the incredible honor a few years ago to address his network of executive recruiters and spend several days with these leaders in day-long meetings and presentations.  Part of the issue in the success of an employee (and I would also say managers and self-employed individuals) is the ability of a manager to recognize the needs of their employees and how to magnify their productivity while at the same time recognizing their needs and ability to work with others.  Click on his article on Talent or Talent Failure at Cornerstone International Group website.


Wow.  Three simple questions we all should address, whether as owners, managers, or employees.

Tell me what you think. 



  1. Michael Hurd

    Thanks for the article. Gave me some tidbits in self reflection. I’ll see if Stewart Title Canada will focus on these questions in my upcoming interview with them.

  2. Natalie

    Love your Blog and especially the three questions! Yes indeed! Nat.

  3. job hounslow

    This is really great to read a super article like this, I am a job seekers right now, and your this article really pumped me up, i am much more confident now, Now i know only skill cant get a job for. you need skill and confidence both to get a job.

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