A recent Facebook post by a Mizzou colleague, Joy Mayer, discussed the perfect interview question.
She wrote: “On a reference call for a former colleague, the hiring editor just asked me, ‘What will I need to do to keep her happy and fulfilled in her work?’ Man, that’s an excellent question. One all hiring editors who like retaining staff should be asking.
In addition to hiring managers, this is a question all job applicants should be able to answer for themselves. What makes you happy to get up and go to your job every day? Your answer should not include things like free lunches, unlimited soda and generous vacation time, but instead focus on the day-to-day interactions and things that make working worth it.
Once you’ve answered the question for yourself, make sure your references know your answer. This can be a great opportunity for a conversation with a former boss or colleague to see if what you think you want matches up with what the reference thinks makes you happiest.
Additionally, this gives you a chance to underscore what will keep you at the company or organization for an extended period of time. Plus, if your reference can find a way to work the same information into a conversation with your potential employer every one involved has clear, realistic expectations.
Not all potential employers are going to ask this question directly, so it’s often up to you to find a way to appropriately convey this information.
As the editor reportedly replied to Joy, “it’s hard to keep good people, but he does his best to try.” Which is an important quality in a boss.