The Importance of Context
Written by:Tara A. Collison, Ph.D.
“It depends”… it’s an answer that’s dangerous to give in some circumstances, but I find it’s the one that I appreciate most. Situational questions are common during the hiring process and you’ve likely faced a few of these situational type questions in the past. I love getting (and giving) an “it depends” type answer. This allows a dialogue around the important factors and elements of a situation. For example, if you’ve asked a candidate for a new sales position about how they would expand into a new market, you’d likely want them to consider the factors important to your company, the team, your strategy, as well as the things they already know about building new markets in your industry. They can’t possibly know all those things already, but a dialogue during the interview can tell you what they would consider and why they think those things are important. Situations and context is important, even critical for helping your business succeed.
A great way to understand what a potential will naturally consider first is to use personality assessments during the hiring process. You can both lay out what you and the company need in a particular role as well as assessing candidates during the hiring process to understand what they will bring to a role. Personally, I’m wired to think of a few things first when facing any situation, speed, strategy & people! So, if you need me in a role that requires a lot of structure and repetition, I would struggle (and likely be very unhappy over time!). It’s a recipe for disengagement. Next time you are building a team, considering who to assign a particular project to or bringing on a new team member, consider the context before you take action… You’ll get better results, faster!