Mostly all children are born curious. Run down your memory lane, and you surely will recall how some bewildering questions have been bombarded on us by younger generations from time to time. Why does the sky appear blue every time? Why can stars be seen only at night? How do bird smile? Why can’t pigeon swim? Newton too needed an answer to why the apple fell on the ground rather than going upwards. Alexander Graham Bell was curious about signals - and then the telephone was born. In fact, so many things that we know or we use today has been inspired by the curiosity of the human mind.
Curiosity is not something that needs to be taught. As a matter of fact it is a trait - a skill that one must learn not to negate. This skill helps to identify matters that can give birth to new discoveries. The fascination to know more can create new solutions everywhere.
What inspires a chef to create a new recipe? What makes a developer create a software product? What inspires a leader to develop new innovative strategies for the development of his people?
More often than not, it is their curiosity. Curiosity is actually one of the core tenets of growth and success. It is a trait that is most needed in an entry level job seeker as well as in CXO level leaders. Curiosity help you stay successful at work. However, not every job requires super curiosity level. Sometimes too much curiosity could result in someone always asking questions or attempting to ‘fix’ things instead of actually accomplishing anything of value. Hence, one needs to hire talent who has the right mix of the curiosity scale.
Let us try exploring some methods to find the right curious talent.
- Curious people naturally want to learn how to do things better. During the interview, give them a problem to solve. Assign a real challenging task that needs immediate attention. Curious people will be confident in their knowledge their domain area and will likely try to modify a process or method for creating something better.
- People who are curious have an innate need to expand their knowledge and skills. Check learning index from previous years with questions like ‘Tell me something you have learnt new in the last six months’ or ‘What recent skills have you acquired, and how have you implemented it in your current role?’. Let the interviewer ask questions that help to measure the candidate’s curiosity index.
- Candidates straight out of college may not have been given the opportunity to exercise their drive for curiosity in a workplace setting. Hence, in such cases let the interviewer ask about his personal hobbies or interests outside the scope of work. Sometimes it can be a good idea to ask the candidate to teach something then and there because a curious person will always be ready with something new to share. And this can be a test of teamwork too, that will showcase how he works with others in the company.
- One of the easiest indicators for measuring the curiosity level is to take them for an office tour. During the tour give them opportunities to ask questions about signages, office decorations, projects, teams and current initiatives. If the candidate resorts to basic questions which are usually expected, then take this as a signal about their level of curiosity.
- Go for a Pre- hiring test before interviewing the candidate. Assign task that require a certain amount of research on their part and see how in-depth their study has been. For instance, while interviewing for a business account manager role, ask applicants to come up with an article topic for a client, and then ask how they came up with the topic and what purpose will that have on the business.
- Curious people ask better questions. The interviewer can try using scenario-based questions to give candidates the opportunity to show if they are naturally driven to ask questions or care to understand how a particular process works. In fact, one of the best things an interviewer can do is to pose the classic final remark: “What questions do you have?” Curious people will always have insightful and original questions.
Summing up with the quotes of Brian Grazer – the New York Times bestselling author and Oscar–winning producer - ‘Curiosity is different from intelligence or creativity or even from leadership. Not everyone has those qualities, but everyone can be as curious as they want to be, and it doesn’t matter when you start. Furthermore, your curiosity can help you be smarter and more creative, it can help you be more effective and also help you be a better person.’