Interview Questions That Cut Through the BS

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Cut through the BS early in the interviewing process by focusing on examples of what they have accomplished in the past.

You have finally found the perfect candidate for your open position and he is sitting in front of you. You ask questions to explore the fit for the position and get all the right answers.

Still, there is a question in the back of your head, “Is what he is telling me true? If I hire this person, will she do what she said she would do in this situation?”

Asking what would be done in a specific situation will not tell you whether they will actually do it after they are hired. Asking questions that focus on past performance will.

Behavioral-based interviewing is based on the premise that past performance is a sure indicator of future performance. Just because someone says that they plan on running for the presidential office does not mean that they have the skill or the finances to do so.

Another type of BS you might encounter on a job interview is cockiness or arrogance. This is the person who thinks that they are the best thing since the sun came up. This might be true, but in this day of social media and personal branding, the claims that people make may not be backed up with any experience and results.

Let’s assume that you are interviewing a candidate who has a great resume. This person is coming across as a bit arrogant and snotty.

A question that will separate arrogance from ability is, “How would you rate yourself as compared to your peers in the area of ….?” If the person comes back saying that they are better than most of the people they have worked with in the past, then a good follow-up question would be, “Give me some examples that would justify your claim.”

If they can give you examples that are credible, this person may just have earned the “hotshot” moniker. If they cannot, then they are just another wiseass. These personalities might end up being a management challenge or might not be coachable.

When listening to the answers that are given, it is important to look for several components. You should be thinking of the acronym “SAR” and your follow-up questions should come from clarifying any of the parts of the acronym that was unclear or left out.

The S in the acronym stands for SITUATION. You should have an understanding of what their role was in the example and the context of the project. The A stands for ACTION. What did they do in this situation? The R stands for result. What was the endpoint? How did their involvement contribute to the success of the project?

Using these interview tactics will help you get through the BS early in the interviewing process by focusing in on examples of what they have accomplished in the past instead of what they will do in the future.

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