So let’s set the table.
“George, in your opinion, what about today’s work environment isn’t fair?”
I think there are three ways George can respond to the question:
George may sense it’s a “trap question” and not really answer it at all. He’ll avoid giving you a direct answer.
George may go on for several minutes about what he finds unfair. He didn’t get the raise or the promotion he thought he deserved. He was given assignments that he didn’t feel could get done in the time period allowed. He was asked to put in overtime without being properly compensated.
Here is the third way George might respond to the question:
“Well, I’ll admit there were situations at work that I found difficult to deal with. I decided the best way to deal with those situations was to communicate to the right people what I thought was happening. But I also knew that the kind of communication in those situations was very important. I realized that complaining to others—whether it was to other employees or my supervisors or the boss—well, that wasn’t going to be a good approach at all. I didn’t want to be known as a complainer. I didn’t want to be that guy who said, ‘it isn’t fair.’”
So, I’m thinking if you’d like an insight into how responsible your applicant is, ask him what isn’t (or wasn’t) fair and give the question some context.
It could just do the job.
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