On A Scale of 1 – 10

I love asking people to rank things on a scale of 1 – 10.

For instance, I may ask my daughter, “Honey, on a scale of 1 – 10, how much do you want to see a movie this weekend?”

Or I may ask an associate, “On a scale of 1 – 10, how strong is your interest in this new project?”

In the case of my daughter, she may say “5” and then I know it’s not super important. Her “5” tells me that it’s somewhat important but if she says “9 or 10” then, of course, I know her feelings are very strong on seeing a movie.

With my business associate, having his answer fall somewhere on this scale instantly tells me where his interest is with the new project. I could ask him to go into great detail how he feels about the project, or he could just give me a number.

Now, you may feel this is an overly simplified approach to understanding where people are at, but I disagree.

With this graduated scale, I get a very quick sense where someone stands on a subject. Any subject. A ‘2’ is considerably different than an ‘8’ and, for me, each one of these numbers gives me a pretty clear statement of how the person feels.

So how could this be applied to the hiring interview?

Well, here are some examples of how you could use it:

“Fred, I have two questions for you:

“On a scale of 1 – 10, how important to you is working with us here, this company? And…

“On a scale of 1 – 10, how important to you is having the paycheck we would provide?”

You could ask Fred these two questions back-to-back so that he could consider the answer to both and then reply.

Another example:

“Sally, on a scale of 1 – 10, what is your view of a long term position here? Let’s define ’10’ as you’re interested in establishing yourself here for a number of years and ‘1’ as you’d jump ship in a few weeks if a potentially better offer came along.”

One more example:

“Alan, on a scale of 1 – 10, how important is it for you to believe in what our company produces and represents?”

1 – 10.

It’s a graduated scale.

Some of your prospects may give you a number that they feel you want to hear. But that’s true of any question in the hiring interview.

Then there will be those who give you a number that is their genuine view of things.

And that, my friend, is a nice dose of insight into your candidate.


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