Tempting as it may be to ask job candidates for their school report cards a better method is to look for subtle clues potential slackers give during the hiring process. People with fixed mindsets believe you are born into greatness and have a propensity for slacker-type behavior; whereas people with growth mindsets believe you can grow into greatness if you put forth the extra effort.
A human resource professional recently interviewed potential candidates to ascertain potential recruits' mindsets by asking for their views on performance. The following discussion topics were directed to a professional sports team, but they can be adapted for the business environment as well:
(1) How much of your success comes from natural talent vs practice and hard work? People who say it is all talent have a fixed mindset and are not going to respond as well to training. You want people who say talent gives you a head start but true success comes from practice and hard work.
(2) How did you improve your performance? Some recruits said improvement came naturally to them. In a business setting, listen for whether a job candidate talks about his own brilliance without mentioning learning opportunities, mentors, or collaborators.
(3) As you take on a new challenge or move up in the organization, what will you have to change or learn to perform at a higher level? Some people may say they already perform at a higher level and know everything they need to know.
(4) If job candidates only talk about outcomes and dollars earned or saved rather than collaboration, teamwork, or what they learned in the process, they are a fixed mindset.
(5) Tell me about a loss. Fixed mindset people blame others for failure. Or they may describe solving a problem caused by someone else and how they were the knight saving all the stupid people. Growth mindset people embrace failure, accept responsibility, and learn from it.
(6) You want the person who knows they have a lot to learn and is willing to learn rather than thinking their natural talent will carry them to the top. People who ride on their natural abilities do not know what to do when they have setbacks.