“What will your company think when you tell them you’re leaving?”
That’s the question Kristin Muhlner, CEO of NewBrand, a social analytics software company, asks every job candidate she interviews.
In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of The New York Times, Muhlner says this question helps her “get at other aspects of the person — how they work with others and how they’re perceived.”
She tells Business Insider it also allows her to better understand a candidate’s personality, their relationship with work, their work ethic, and their loyalty (or lack thereof) to their employer, among other things.
“By asking the question, I get a view on the candidate’s level of seriousness about our opportunity,” she says. “If the answer is, ‘I think they’re probably going to counter any offer I get,’ then it’s possible I’m dealing with a candidate who isn’t really interested in a job with us, but instead is just trying to improve their current compensation or position. I’ll happily fight for an awesome candidate, but I have no interest in just being a pawn in a game.”
Muhlner can also get a view on a candidate’s level of integrity by asking this question. “If the answer is, ‘They’re not going to be surprised at all,’ I can probe on that further to understand if the individual is being let go.”
If follow-up questions point to some unresolved issues or strife, she can usually get a sense of the relative maturity of the candidate and their ability to handle tough situations, she explains.
What Muhlner hopes to hear from a candidate when she asks this question is: “I think my current employer is going to be wildly disappointed if I leave.”
“If the individual is in a customer-facing role, like sales or services, it’s even better to hear them say that their customers will be devastated,” she adds.
“I really appreciate someone who is thoughtful enough to consider this issue before I even ask the question. I value an individual who recognises their worth and their role with their current employer, but who has enough humility to realise that they aren’t the center of the universe.”
If the candidate has been considerate enough to think about the impact of their departure and how to help deal with transition issues, then they are someone who is looking ahead and is anticipating issues and trying to step in front of them.
“We want that person — the one who sees a situation unfolding and jumps in to take care of it without being asked,” Muhlner concludes.
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