Recruiting for an Agile Mindset has become an important weapon in an ever changing world! As many organisations are becoming more adaptive and agile, they recognise that this relies on a shift in mindset and behaviours to shift the culture. Once you reach critical mass, that’s the right number of people at all levels with aligned capabilities, the culture starts to reshape.

One part that is often overlooked in reshaping culture is the role of recruitment. Recruiting people who demonstrate an agile mindset is a game-changer for companies who want to thrive in turbulent times. The agile mindset is about being adaptable, open to feedback, and being able to pivot quickly.

In this blog post, we dive into how to recruit someone with an agile mindset to make sure you get ‘the right people on the bus’.

Recruiting for WILL as well as SKILL!

Recruiters often focus on skills when assessing candidates for a position, which can lead to overlooking an individual’s mindset. The Skill/Will Matrix, created by Max Landsberg, is a useful approach that is based on the assumption that a skill is easier to teach than shifting low motivation or a fixed mindset.

When you focus on Will over Skill, you will look for people who are continuous learners who are open to change and adaptable to new and different ways of working. With the right questions, recruiters can assess a candidate’s willingness to think differently, experiment, and embrace change.

Don’t just rely on previous experience!

When recruiting, the candidate’s experience alone is not a reliable indicator. If a candidate has worked on an ‘agile team’ before, it’s not a guarantee they have the mindset and behaviours you want. To help you identify the people you want on your team, the interview questions you ask need to uncover their ways of thinking and alignment.

Questions to ask when recruiting for an Agile Mindset

Here’s a couple of questions to get you started:

  • What did you like most about the last project you worked on?
  • What did you like least?
  • Tell me about a challenge you experienced when working with the team? And what you did about it?

Use the behavioural interviewing approach to hear about real examples where your potential team members can describe the situation, what they actually did and the outcome. To gather more information, probe a little further and ask:

  • Then what happened?
  • What did you learn from that?
  • And what might you do differently next time?

 Some more useful questions

Ask open-ended questions that allow candidates to elaborate on their thoughts and experiences, such as:

  • What are you doing differently now than you were doing a couple of years ago?
  • What was the most significant change you’ve gone through, and how did you handle it?
  • How do you stay ahead of industry trends?
  • Tell me about something you learned recently that has influenced your thinking and way of working?

Recruiting individuals with an agile mindset is critical for organisations that want to excel in disruptive times. While it’s important to focus on the candidate’s skills and experience, it’s also important to find the right balance between skills and mindset, using thoughtful questions.

If you have a really curious mindset, check out these links:



Skill/Will Matrix

Landsberg, M. (1996), The tao of coaching: Boost your effectiveness at work by inspiring and developing those around you, Profile Books, London