Interviewing – The Art of Listening

Interviewing a perspective employee requires having the right questions to illicit response other than a simple “yes” or “no” answer which do little to help with the ultimate decision to move forward with hiring.

Many of the questions interviewers use are almost expected by applicants including the oldest in the book, “Where do you see yourself in five years”?  Even asking someone what their biggest weakness is can be expected by the applicant and the answer is rehearsed.  Instead, try this one: What brings you here today?

This incredibly open-ended question has no expected answer for either party.  It can mean, how did you become unemployed or why did you apply here?  It can mean so different things to different people.  The key is, you have to listen closely to how the applicant chooses to answer the question.

The best part is, the applicant has to think fast and this is a good indication of their intention.  Perhaps they will tell you how great they are or perhaps they will tell you what a great company you run and why they want to be on your team.

Another good question to really learn about a person is to ask them to tell you about their hobbies or things they like to do in their spare time.  This can speak volumes about what the applicant is really all about.  Remember, it is the art of listening that tells you about someone so let them elaborate and ask them more about each answer.  For instance, if they say they like watching NASCAR, ask what they enjoy most about the sport, how they became interested and who their favorite driver is.  Don’t forget to ask why they selected a favorite driver.  An interview like this is very conversational and delves deep into the persona of the applicant.