Wait, what? and other essential questions for success


The latest employment statistics are the best they’ve been in two years. Canada’s unemployment rate now sits at 6.6%. We’re thrilled with this good news – it’s a sign of optimism. And optimism fuels expansion.

But for those among the 6.6% unemployed, CEO of The Bagg Group, Geoff Bagg, wants to remind them of this: Don’t think of yourself as a statistic.

The Bagg Group has seen Canada’s employment stats rise and plummet time and time again.

Through it all, it we’ve placed more than 60,000 people in full-time, contract, and temporary placement over our 45-plus year history.  

The way The Bagg Group recruiters see it, everyone who is seeking a job is seeking to contribute to the marketplace. So forget about numbers in the news, ignore the statistical indicators, and just focus on what you can offer the market.

Geoff insists, “Like any supplier of goods and services, at any point in time, you need to figure out what your potential market needs and wants, and how you can address those demands.”

To help, here are 5 essential questions to ask yourself. (We adapted these from a wonderful graduation address by James Ryan, Dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education.)

  1. Wait, what? Yes, we’re serious. This isn’t just a thing to say when a pal tells you they can’t find the tickets to the game, or when your kid comes home from college with six houseguests for the weekend.

“Wait, what?” is an easy question to program yourself to say (to yourself!) when applying for a new position, interviewing, or handed an assignment by a boss.

Wait reminds you to pause and not to instantly jump on an action or thought.

What reminds you to get very clear on what is wanted.

It adds up to a formula to ensure thoughtfulness and clarity.

  1. I wonder if… ?  Put these 3  little words together to activate curiosity and creativity.

Organizational psychologists have reams of studies confirming this is the mindset for succeeding at problem-solving.  And your brainstorm can start just with “I wonder if…?”

  1. What do we agree on? This is terrific question that instantly prompts you to think like a collaborator.

Establishing what you and someone else agree on sets the stage for working well together.

When someone knows you agree on important factors or goals, they become more comfortable and interested to hear about what you can offer.

  1. How can I help you? This question supports The Bagg Group’s philosophy that you are a contributor. What can you do for a team or an potential employer?

Bagg Pro, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg Managed Services and Turn Key Staffing Solution all place candidates with the best companies in the GTA and beyond who recognize their job is to help their employer meet goals. Click here for job opportunities.

  1. What matters to me, what matters to you? We love this question. It gets to the heart of a truly successful placement.   Do you share values?

At The Bagg Group, we are values-driven. We believe that people who are happy at work make for more productive and happier workplaces – happier families and communities. That’s why the right fit matters to us!

Wait, what? I wonder …? What do we agree on? How can I help you? What matters to me, what matters to you?  Let these questions – not statistics — shape your thinking to be successful.


Gene Hayden, author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done (Random House), is a career coach and writer-in-residence for The Bagg Group

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