How To Spot The Most Empathetic Job Candidates
It’s good to have people with high levels of empathy on your team. Empathy contributes to many positive outcomes, from stronger working relationships to more creative thinking. Empathetic people are adept at understanding things from someone else’s perspective and communicating with them with compassion.
Empathy is an especially important skill for those leading a team. Empathetic leaders understand the needs of their team members and make decisions with those needs in mind. If you’re planning to add to your team, Sebastian Bryers, the CTO and head of growth at Ora Organic, recommends adding empathy to your list of hiring must-haves.
How can you find those with high levels of empathy? You can ask the right questions during the interview process. We share Bryers’ recommended questions in this issue of PromoPro Daily.
If you were in my position, what skills do you think would be most important for this role? The candidate’s response reveals what they think matters most. Bryers says ideal answers account for how the role contributes to the company’s success. The best candidates can walk the line between daily tasks, which reveal experience, and company goals, which reveal critical thinking skills.
What’s the biggest challenge you see for yourself and your potential team in the next year? There’s no one right response to this question since it’s so subjective. Strong answers consider the nature of growth and address how evolving roles may clash with established workflows, Bryers says. Listen for broad perspectives, which may point to a person with more empathy. Basic answers may indicate a focus more on the self.
What is one weakness of our company's current business model that could be improved? The answer to this question can show empathy — or a lack of empathy — because it requires the candidate to take themselves from the center of focus and consider the company’s context. Bryers says interviewees who can analyze big-picture problems that don’t directly affect them can empathize with the challenges of upper management. Best-in-class candidates frame their answers in terms of how the company could progress and where its opportunities lie.
An unhappy customer demands a refund against our company’s policy. What do you do? It’s helpful to ask scenario-based questions, Bryers says, because they reveal how well candidates can think on the fly. Those who can make fair decisions with limited information understand the needs of all stakeholders, not just those of the customer. He suggests giving top marks to those who understand the customer’s frustration, the reasoning behind the company’s policy and the merits of multiple options. Even better if the interviewee can present some creative solutions, such as issuing a credit toward future purchases.
Empathy is important in the workplace for many reasons. Don’t just look at people’s resumes and hard skills when deciding who to bring on to your team — look for empathy.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Sebastian Bryers is the CTO and head of growth at Ora Organic, a digitally native retailer of organic, plant-based and sustainable supplements based in San Diego.