I asked someone this question the other day and there was some silence…and then a thoughtful response. I think this question digs deep down into the essence of everyone because it can’t be answered without some real thought.
Interestingly enough, last week’s Sunday New York Times posted an interview with Bill McDermott…and it turns out he believes in this question too and makes this a core interview question for prospective employees.
Bill McDermott, co-C.E.O. of SAP, the software company, says employers “will make bold bets on people who have an unwavering passion for success.” The idea can become lost in academia, he adds, “but that’s the real world.”
Q. How do you hire?
A. I always try to hire somebody who’s got a vision at least as big as mine. The main question I ask is, what do you want? If you ask somebody what they want, you’ll know everything there is to know about them. We’re looking for people who have a clarity about who they are and what they want, and where they want to go. They should have a keen understanding of how the job they’re interviewing for fits into their personal passions. So I want to know that they’ve got the talent, the bandwidth, the acumen and the intellectual curiosity to keep getting better. But I also want to know that they really want it.
Take the time and answer this fundamental question, What do you want?, and then go for it.