• Matthew Lerner

Growth Mindset Interview Questions (1 of 3)

I get asked "How do you interview for 'growth mindset"? I have 3 go-to questions, here’s the first:

What are you hoping to learn in this next job?”

First, look at how they react to the question, nonverbally! The best people will get excited. Good people will think for a moment, smile, and then think a bit more. If the question makes the candidate uncomfortable, listen carefully to their answer.

  • Top 5% answer: “To achieve my life/career goal of ____ I need to get better at ____. I hope that this role will give me ______ relevant experience, and I’m excited to work on ____ and get better at _____. (from these answers you'll know that they have already thought about this, and that’s why they want to work for you in the first place. Amazing!)

  • Good answer: "Hmm, that’s a great question!" (thinks about it). "I guess at this point I’m trying to get better at ____. Could this job help me?" (e.g. had not thought about it previously but does have implicit "learning goals" for themselves. That’s fine).

  • Bad answers: Surprised, had not thought about it, obviously making stuff up, tends to equate "learning" with reading books, taking courses, learning facts and procedures, rather than experiential growth. (Thank this person for their time 😕).

  • Worst answer ever: (actual quote) "I do not need to learn, I am a professional developer with 10+ years of experience...” (😳)

Remember, how they answer is as important as what they say. Is the idea of learning exciting or threatening? Had they given the matter any thought?

That question has been super helpful to me over the years for every job type. I hope you find it helpful as well!

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