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Specific Questions Enhance an Interview not Detract from It!

Improve your hiring by becoming a master of questioning.

Watching congressional hearings can be frustrating. It does not take long before I find myself yelling at the television for the Senators or Congressmen to “just ask the question!” Of course that doesn’t last long because my wife is quick to point out that she is the only one hearing my frustrations.

If I had to grade the interviewing skills of our congressional leaders during a hearing process, I would have to give most of them an ‘F’ because they most always speak longer than the job candidate and in many cases fail to even ask a question. I think their goal is to impress the public with their knowledgeable elocution rather than finding out about anyone’s qualifications or beliefs.

That is the most common mistake made by interviewers--speaking more than the job candidate. Often, the candidate leaves the interview knowing a lot about the interviewer and the organization but the reverse is not true. Often the interviewer ends up rating the candidate highly when, in fact, they are judging how well they listened to the interviewer rather than having learned anything about the candidate.

As an interviewer, if your first impression is that you like the person, everything after that just reinforces the initial impression. Many times, job candidates pay a compliment to the interviewer, the office, the organization or something that distracts the interviewer and gets the whole process off track. Don’t take the bait. Politely thank them and then return to the prepared list of questions that are asked of every candidate for a particular job. If the candidate attempts to ‘hijack’ the interview by coming to it well prepared with their own list of questions, make them wait until you have gotten what you need from them and then let them ask what they wish.

Remember, a lot can be learned about a potential candidate by just letting them talk. And, the interviewer also needs to remember that there are many people who are much better at ‘selling themselves’ than they are at ‘delivering the goods’. So the interviewer needs to develop good listening skills to pick up on subtle clues provided by the candidate about how he or she truly behaves.

“Well done is better than well said.” Ben Franklin

By Staff Development Services
Law Firm Human Resources Consulting & Expert Witness
John M. Beane’s interest in human character and behavior started during his years as the director of public information for a state agency and continued during the time he operated a retail business for ten years. As he created and presented training on various topics all over the United States, Canada and Europe and later helped many companies streamline processes to achieve maximal productivity, his main interest continued to be human character. For the past 30+ years, he has studied and researched the impact that emotional intelligence and character development has on hiring and productivity. He has helped numerous clients take the guesswork out of finding the right people to staff their firms while improving their bottom line by creating a more productive staff and decreasing employee turnover.

Copyright Staff Development Services

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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