This is an interesting question to ask an applicant:
“If you didn’t have to work at all, what would you do?”
You could break this down into two different scenarios. I’m sure you can come up with others, but here are two:
“Frank, you have money coming in every month for the rest of your life, enough to cover all of your bills and and some good extra spending money, and you don’t have to work, what would you do?”
“Frank, you have 10 million dollars in the bank and you don’t have to work, what would you do?”
You may have to stress to the applicant that they really do NOT have to work. No financial stress. What would they do?
You might get answers like:
“Write a book.”
“Do some humanitarian work.”
“Start a company.”
“Travel the world.”
“I’d likely get bored, so I’d get a job regardless of being financially secure.”
“Learn to paint, play the piano, take acting lessons.”
I’m not sure there are any right or wrong answers here, but I’d like to hear that the applicant wants to be productive in some way.
If they’ve got 10 million in the bank and they want to donate it all to charitable causes and then go back to work, that sounds interesting.
If they have a passion to start a company of their own and they can tell you what this company would do and how they’d get it off the ground, that’s also an interesting answer.
I haven’t anything against traveling around the world or reading every romance novel ever written. And if someone wants to be a famous actor and this is their chance, I guess that’s okay, too.
But if they want to be productive, and this is their chance to be productive in a way they get to choose, that sounds better to me.
How your applicant answers might give you a clue to how productive they may be with you.