How To Hire For The Compassion Mindset®

Posted on August 11, 2021 by Nate Regier / 2 comments
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Compassion is what makes us human and gets us back on track. Compassion is what helps leaders navigate conflict productively, build connection, and improve culture.

The more we live and work in a hybrid connection economy, the more compassion is required for success.

So it makes sense that we’d want to hire for compassion, but how do we do that?

What is The Compassion Mindset?

Compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible in every interaction.

The Compassion Mindset enables the full practice of compassion and consists of three switches. These switches represent our attitudes towards ourselves and others around value, capability, and responsibility. When the switches are on, our behavior promotes connection, engagement, and innovation. When the switches are off, our behavior will lead to disconnection, division and distress.

Three switches of the compassion mindsetA person’s behavior will let you know if the switches are on or off.

Since the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, behavioral-based interviewing is a best practice for evaluating any competency, including compassion.

Behavior-Based Interview Questions

Here are behavior-based questions you can use to see if your candidate’s compassion switches are on, or off.

People are Worthwhile

When the switch is on, we believe that people are innately valuable and have dignity, so we believe in them, support them, and give them the benefit of the doubt. When the switch is off, we believe that a person’s value is conditional. Try these interview questions:

  • Describe a time when you believed in someone who didn’t believe in themselves and how that impacted their performance.
  • Describe how you deal with employees who are experiencing emotional struggles, e.g. scared, anxious, or angry.
  • Describe a time when you got vulnerable with your employees or team.
  • Describe how you create a safe emotional space for your employees.

People are Capable

When the switch is on, we believe there is opportunity for growth, and we assist people in becoming more capable. When the switch is off, we see limitations and barriers, and often jump in to solve the problem ourselves, only reinforcing dependency. Try these interview questions:

  • Describe a time in your past when you helped someone else rise to their potential.
  • How do you approach a new project as a leader?
  • What’s the main difference between being a team member and a team leader?
  • Are you a sounding board or a solution board? Give an example.
  • Describe a situation where an employee under your supervision failed. What did you do?
  • Describe a time when a co-worker was struggling with a task or project. How did you assist them?
  • Share an experience where you focused on leveraging skills of others.
  • Share an example of how you’ve encouraged growth and learning in a work environment.
  • Describe your most spectacular failure. What happened and how did you deal with it?

People are Responsible

When the switch is on, we believe that regardless of what happened in the past, there is shared responsibility for what happens next, so we encourage ownership. When the switch is off, we try to isolate responsibility and point fingers. Try these interview questions:

  • Describe a time in your previous job when someone approached you with complaints and you helped them take responsibility for finding a solution.
  • Describe how you set boundaries for yourself at work.
  • What is your perspective on individual vs group accountability.
  • Share a time when you made a mistake and how you handled it.
  • Describe a time when a colleague or subordinate violated a rule or policy. How did you respond?
  • Describe an experience where you took ownership for your part in moving an initiative forward.
  • Describe an experience where you took responsibility for how you were feeling regarding a difficult conversation.

Move from diversity to inclusion and belonging with The Compassion Mindset.

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2 Comments

Photo of Sandra Bowand
Sandra Bowand
Posted on August 11, 2021

Next up: a post of questions for the interviewee to ask the prospective employer to learn more about how compassionate the workplace is?? 😀

Photo of Nate Regier
Nate Regier
Posted on August 11, 2021

Great idea, Sandra. Thanks!!

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Photo of Gabe Walsh
Gabe Walsh
Posted on August 11, 2021

I’m so excited! This is a great list.
I just went through the hiring process with several candidates and identified a need to update some of my questions.
Hiring is a constantly evolving process but this type of question will withstand the test of time. Thanks for sharing.

Photo of Nate Regier
Nate Regier
Posted on August 11, 2021

Thanks Gabe!

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