Keeping the Candidate Out of the Driver's Seat
Newsletter volume 1 number 9
At the beginning of each seminar, Management Team Consultants asks participants to list the most common problems they have with interviewing. Answers are as diverse as the participants, from "reading body language" to "prioritizing candidates." However, we've noticed that certain problems come up time after time. Here are two of the most commonly cited problems and some of our solutions:
Keeping control. How do you corral a candidate who tries to control the interview by asking you questions or giving rambling answers?
By establishing the ground rules early and encouraging elaborative answers you can keep control and still get the answers you need. Try the following:
- In your introduction, explain how the interview will be structured. Say that you prefer to learn about the candidate first and allow time for the candidate to ask questions at the end of the interview.
- If the candidate tries to hand a question back to you ("What would you like to know about my current job?"), just hand it back without answering it ("Whatever you think is important for me to know").
- If a candidate evades a question, repeat the question, ("I see your point. However, that didn't answer my original question, which was...").
- If you need to interrupt, ask a close-ended question, then redirect the conversation to a new topic.
Getting pat answers. How do you avoid getting standard or pat answers to your questions?
- Avoid asking pat questions ("What are your strengths/limitations?" or "Where do you see yourself in five years?").
- Use open-ended questions that require an elaborative answer and don't telegraph what you want to know.
- Ask for further examples of claimed behavior ("You said you have common sense and good judgment. Please give me an example of each.").