Green Job Interview Questions
Now that you’re forming a sustainable company culture, it’s important to share this with candidates for new hires. Ask about their personal eco interests, and learn what they have done so far in their career to help the environment. Also try to get a feel for the candidate’s basic green terminology.
The important thing here is not to sound like you’re judging if the person doesn’t come from the most sustainable background. If they’re interested in sustainability, even though they don’t know what a compost is, that’s probably good enough for your company.
They don’t need to pass the full eco-test of questions below, nor do they need to be a certified tree hugger. Their interest in and knowledge of sustainable issues can be developed once they’ve been hired.
Suggested Interview Questions
- What’s the most recent book you’ve read or movie you’ve seen that addresses the environment or sustainability issues?
- How does sustainability fit into your life? What are your recycling habits? Do you drive a hybrid car? Do you compost at home?
- What are your personal goals to improve sustainability in your life?
- Have you ever stayed at an eco hotel? When traveling, do you research a hotel’s green practices before booking?
- How would you describe your attitudes toward environment issues?
- Why are you interested in working for a company that is committed to improving sustainability?
- Have you ever worked for an eco-minded company before? If so, what do you consider the most important idea you contributed or your most important accomplishment in the area of sustainability in your last job?
- How do you think you will fit into an eco-minded company?
- In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to sustainability in our company?
- What ideas do you have for improving sustainability in your area or from your job position?
Basic Green Terminology
This shouldn’t be a quiz, but you can use some of these terms to try to get a feel for whether the candidate is familiar with green terminology (I tried to keep this basic rather than technical, and include terms that are relevant to the hotel industry):
- Carbon footprint: the amount of carbon dioxide emissions created by a person, company, or industry.
- Carbon offset: a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. People, companies, or governments will sometimes purchase carbon offsets to mitigate their emissions.
- CFL: an acronym for Compact Fluorescent Light. These are the white light bulbs that look a little bit like a cork screw. They can be up to 70% more energy efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
- Climate change/Global warming: these terms generally refer to the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s air and oceans, which has been largely affected by greenhouse gas emissions.
- Hybrid cars: these are vehicles that use more than one fuel source, such as an electric motor in addition to a traditional (gasoline-powered) engine.
- Locavore: a person who eats mostly food that is grown or produced locally (generally, within an hour’s drive from home, though everyone has their own guidelines). Why? Because consuming locally produced foods reduces the impact on the environment by reducing fuel required for transportation of the foods. It also helps support local farmers.
- Organic: fruits and vegetables grown without conventional pesticides and chemical fertilizers; meats that have not been subjected to consumption of growth hormones or regular use of low dose antibiotics.
- Renewable energy: the use of natural resources such as sunlight (solar energy), wind (aeolic/eolic energy), tides (tidal power), and the Earth’s natural heat (geothermal energy) to create another form of energy such as electricity.
What other green job interview questions or terminology relevant to the hotel industry can you think of? What green questions have you used in past interviews?