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We provide competency-based behavioral interviewing training for interview teams including hiring managers, recruiters, and interviewers. We have been publishing articles for over 40 years to address the myriad of issues encountered in the process of hiring top talent.

Facing Intuitive Concerns

Newsletter • volume 1 • number 6

An interview is ending, but you still have an intuitive concern about the candidate. You suspect that the candidate is holding something back, misrepresenting achievements or truly lacking a required skill. Your intuition is telling you something is wrong. What do you do?

Deal directly with concerns before the interview ends. The suggested wording for these probes, "assure" and "reassure," places the burden of resolving your intuitive concern directly on the candidate. Either ask the candidate to assure you he or she has the required skill or quality you are seeking or ask for reassurance that your concern is not valid.

In the following example, a talk-show host is interviewing Ross Perot about his on-again candidacy for president. Let's explore two concerns:

Concern #1: Does Ross Perot have perseverance?

Question #1: "Ross, you have a number of positive qualities, but I am concerned about your perseverance. You quit the Navy, the General Motor's board and your initial run for the presidency. What can you say now to assure me you have perseverance?"

Concern #2: Is Ross Perot leveling with the American voter?

Question #2: "Ross, you have a number of positive qualities, but your explanation of your decision to run again doesn't sound sincere. You said it's up to your supporters to decide and that your campaign is a "bottom-up" organization. Yet, you decided on your own to pull out of the race two months ago. What can you say now to reassure me that you are leveling with the American voter?"

In these two examples, the interviewer asks directly for specific evidence or reassurance during the interview. This is better than relying on subsequent reference checks or the opinions of other interviewers.

Try this out in your next interview.