“1 Interview Question That Cuts Through the BS to Reveal Someone’s True Character” Inc.com
Written by Betsy Mikel | Reviewed by Steve McKenney, PT
Hiring the right staff physical therapist is both a primary goal and a challenge for most private practice owners. The right physical therapist can create a comfortable atmosphere for patients, colleagues, and managers. The wrong physical therapist can be a source of patient dissatisfaction, poor relationships between colleagues, and an overall tense clinic atmosphere.
In her Inc.com column, Betsy Mikel explains why it is important to hire “givers” instead of “takers” and how to accomplish this rather difficult goal. There are givers and takers in every organization. Givers are described as people who often give their time to help colleagues, even if doing so could sacrifice their own success. Their goal is to help others and the whole organization succeed. Adam Grant, organizational psychologist, Wharton professor, and a New York Times bestselling author, says, “Givers are often sacrificing themselves, but they make their organization better.”
Takers do the opposite at work. They do whatever it takes to create their own success no matter how it affects their patients and colleagues. Their self-serving attitudes suck the energy out of the clinic.
Hiring physical therapists who are givers, not takers, is key and it’s not an easy task. All job applicants will attempt to put their best foot forward during an interview. They will try to appear agreeable and amiable. It makes sense to assume that givers are agreeable people, so anyone who is agreeable during the interview must be a giver, right? Wrong, according to Grant. He says givers can be disagreeable and may even have a rough exterior. But the fact is, they truly want to help. He says, “Disagreeable givers are the most undervalued people in our organizations, because they’re the ones who give the critical feedback that no one wants to hear but everyone needs to hear.”
Also, there are lots of seemingly agreeable people in the world who are takers. Grant says they are fakers and backstabbers. We don’t want to find out who the fakers are only when the damage is done.
So, how can you conduct an interview in such a way as to separate the givers from the takers/fakers? Grant says we should ask this question: “Can you give me the names of four people whose careers you have fundamentally improved?” He says takers will give you names of high-powered people you recognize. He says that these people are presumed by the interviewee to have “greater influence” than the applicant himself or herself, and Grant describes them as “hot shot names you will be impressed by.”
He goes on to say that givers will give you the names of four people you have never heard of. These people will be colleagues who were on the same professional level as the applicant or even below them in the corporation. They are the names of people who the givers may have managed, built up, and mentored, sometimes at the expense of their own success. Grant says that the “givers” find success when those they work most closely with are successful, too. They believe that individuals are more successful when all team members are performing well.
Private practice owners should find Betsy Mikel’s column and Adam Grant’s comments very helpful if their goal is to hire physical therapists who are givers.
In closing, as a practice owner it might be wise to ask yourself Grant’s interview question and reflect on whether or not you have helped to improve someone else’s career. As a practice owner, are you a giver or a taker? You might also keep this in mind: Ronald Reagan kept a plaque on his desk that read, “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit.”
Steve McKenney, PT, is an occupational health physical therapist with more than 35 years of experience. He is currently employed by WorkWell Prevention & Care and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.