Mastering The Interview Process Hungry Humble Smart Questions

Mastering the interview process: Hungry, humble, smart questions inspired by Patrick Lencioni


Incorporating the Hungry, Humble, Smart methodology into your interview process can be transformative. Inspired by Patrick Lencioni's acclaimed approach, this method focuses on identifying candidates who are not only skilled but also align with key personality traits essential for team success. This article, crafted with insights from recruitment experts like RecruitNZ, provides a comprehensive guide on formulating effective interview questions that unearth these vital traits in candidates.

Understanding hungry, humble, smart

Before diving into specific interview questions, it's crucial to understand the essence of these traits as conceptualized by Patrick Lencioni.

Hungry: The drive for achievement 

'Hungry' refers to a candidate's intrinsic motivation and desire to achieve success. These individuals are self-driven and continually seek personal and professional growth.

Humble: The team player attitude

'Humble' candidates prioritize the team's success over their own. They exhibit a high level of self-awareness and empathy, contributing positively to team dynamics.

Smart: Emotional intelligence at work

Being 'smart' in this context is about possessing emotional intelligence. These individuals understand interpersonal dynamics and navigate them skillfully.

Crafting hungry, humble, smart interview questions

Effective interview questions are key to identifying candidates who embody these traits.

Identifying 'Hungry' through questions

Humble: The team player attitude

"Can you describe a situation where you went above and beyond what was expected in your role?"
"How do you stay motivated in challenging situations, and can you give an example?"

Future goals and ambitions

"What are your long-term career goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?"
"How do you define success in your professional life?"

Assessing 'Humble' with thoughtful inquiry

Teamwork and collaboration

"Can you share an experience where you had to set aside your own agenda for the team's benefit?"
"How do you handle criticism or feedback in a professional setting?"

Self-awareness and growth

"What are some areas you're working on to improve yourself professionally?"
"Can you discuss a time when you had to admit a mistake at work? How did you handle it?"

Evaluating 'Smart' through emotional intelligence questions

Interpersonal skills

"Describe a situation where you successfully resolved a conflict at work."
"How do you build and maintain relationships with colleagues and clients?"

Adaptability and understanding

"Can you give an example of how you've adapted your communication style to work effectively with different personalities?"
"How do you ensure that you understand and meet the expectations of others in your team?"

The impact of the hungry, humble, smart framework in interviews

Implementing these questions in your interviews can profoundly impact the quality of your hires.

Building a balanced and effective team

By focusing on these traits, you are more likely to build a team that is not only skilled but also works well together, fostering a positive and productive work environment.

Aligning with organizational values and goals

Candidates who resonate with the Hungry, Humble, Smart framework are likely to align well with your organization's values and long-term goals, contributing to a cohesive and focused workforce.


In conclusion, integrating the Hungry, Humble, Smart methodology into your interview process, as inspired by Patrick Lencioni, can be a game-changer in your recruitment strategy. It allows you to uncover deeper insights into candidates' personalities and work ethics, paving the way for building a well-rounded, effective team. RecruitNZ endorses this approach, acknowledging its significant impact on shaping successful teams and driving organizational success.

Contact us to find out how we can help your business.

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Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

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