• Sarah E. Flynn

The Hunt for Self-Empowered Employees

Relying on a talented group who communicates openly, fosters trust, and empowers each other results in numerous benefits for your business -- from increased productivity to an innovative daily mindset. At any level of an organization, continuing to encourage team members enables them to become their best selves, increasing their contributions and creating feelings of company loyalty. Who wouldn't love to have a team of people with decision-making confidence and self-motivation?


However, finding and hiring those empowered and confident employees that you can trust is often a daunting task.

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Assessing Self-Empowerment During the Interview Process

But how do you identify these amazing resources in a day full of interviews? Here are a few of my favorite, highly-usable questions that you might find useful in your talent search:


Motivational Questions What motivates you to give your best, most energetic performance at work? Can you give us an example?


What are the plans you have to accomplish one of your life goals?


Behavioral Questions Tell us about a time when you exhibited empowerment, either in the workplace or other. Give us an example of a boss who did not encourage or empower you as an employee. (If this is an entry level individual, you might also ask this as "Give us an example of a professor who did not encourage and empower you as a student.")


Describe your favorite dynamic with a manager in the past.


Tell us about a time that you took the initiative to be proactive in a work environment when you had not received specific instructions.

Theoretical Questions What does it look like when a manager successfully empowers his or her team, in your opinion?


Describe your ideal dynamic with your manager in terms of direction, delegation, and monitoring.

Managerial & Leadership Questions

If you worked in a management position, how would you inspire employees to have better productivity and to be more motivated?

Describe your preferred dynamic with your manager in terms of direction, delegation, and monitoring.


What to Listen For

When you assess each candidate for empowerment and self-confidence, consider the following:

  • Look for enthusiasm in the candidate's voice and a sense of engagement in her body language.

  • Confident, empowered people use space to their advantage. Does the candidate lean forward, look you in the eye, and reminisce with humor?

  • Listen for cultural dissonance - do their ideal workplace relationships sound like your place of business?

  • Do they understand the concepts of empowerment, intrinsic motivation, and a self-starter attitude?

  • Are they ambitious in a healthy and realistic way, exhibiting a well-considered career plan?

  • Does their communication feel honest and open or closed off and as if they are hiding things?

Being Mindful of Matching Employee Development Needs

As a small business owner, I have employed certain people who needed a stepping stone of empowerment, knowing full-well that they would take more of my time and energy. But I also have very meticulously chosen energetic self-starters full of creative problem-solving ability for managerial positions. Consider carefully the role and the level of development and ongoing empowerment that they will need from their manager and their organization.


As a hiring manager that is trying to attract and employ valuable self-starters and people who show a natural sense of motivation, listen for a fit during the beginning of the interview. If you hear what sounds like an excellent candidate sitting across the table from you, then you'll want to accurately present your company work environment to them towards the end of the conversation. Ideally, presenting plans for career development and growth pathways within your organization is a great way to attract and eventually gain a naturally self-empowered employee. Ensuring them that your organization also prefers and promotes a spirit of empowerment will also convey that you value your employees and their contributions.


Regardless of your industry, these questions should help you better prepare to interview and hire the best and brightest talent. I hope this leads you to find self-empowered, motivated, and enthusiastic members for your team.

Sarah E. Flynn is a coach, mentor, and teacher

helping people discover themselves through art and creative expression, building a foundation of self-worth and confidence. Like this post? Sign up here to be first to receive my fresh content in your inbox!




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